Covid Connection Musings

Jaime Smith, 17 February 2021

These Covid times have got me thinking more and more about our people, their wellness and how we can maintain a sense of connection – I am certain that I am not unique with these ponderings. At Magnetism, one of our values is “Excellence through Mastery’ and in my role as the Practice Lead the key area for me is the continued development of my ability to work with and lead others well. Furthermore, these skills must extend to how we connect with our clients. I am going to share a couple of the things I am learning and practicing in my journey towards better connectedness with people.


Recently I was decluttering our home ready for sale and came across the John Maxwell book “Winning with People” [1], fortuitous really, given my current focus. The book is broken into 5 key areas, readiness, connection, trust, investment, and synergy. I have gained a lot from the connection chapters…. Maxwell begins with a great question “Are we willing to focus on others?” an essential ingredient for developing connection. How often do we approach interactions with wanting to have others see our point of view rather than starting from the place of “what if I were in their shoes?”.

This principle, coincidentally, is what underpins our mission as a company:


We have identified over the years of implementing software solutions, that the key to success is to fully understand what it is that drives our clients, what gets them out of bed, what gets in the way of them achieving their potential. We must take the time to see the world from their view BEFORE we tell them about all the features of a product.

Sales through to delivery we take the approach of seeking first to understand and then be understood. When we kick off a project, we ensure the whole team is present and the people who talk the most are from the client’s organisation – sharing with our full team, not just the project manager or business analyst, why they are embarking on this project, what happens at ground level and the hopes they have for what this project will deliver.

On the flipside, another motivator for these sessions was listening to our developers say that they didn’t get to hear first-hand the client’s project drivers or way of doing business and this often made it difficult for them to see the bigger picture. By taking the time to listen, value their contribution and again, taking the time to see things from their perspective we have been able to support them and improve the trust in the relationship and ultimately winning with people on all fronts.

Regarding the team at Magnetism, during the first lockdown in March 2020 I used some time to complete the online Elephants & Riders Emotional Culture Deck [2] training and it has been a game changer for me. Since then, I have been experimenting with starting one on ones with a check in that expands our emotional vocabulary and respects that we are emotional beings, and we bring and experience, emotions at work. It helps take the focus off the tasks at hand, achievements and performance and enables me to better connect with my team in a way that sees them as individuals that view and experience the world in their own unique way, that is valuable.

As I embark on my new coaching journey, I am excited to see how the skills I learn will continue to work themselves out in all of the interactions I have with others.