We all want to feel bonded

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I recently attended The Art of Marketing conference here in Vancouver. I was left inspired, with my thoughts churning. There was a pretty consistent message coming from all the speakers. In a nutshell, this is how I interpreted it:

People want to feel bonded with other people. We bond through stories, generosity, candor and shared experience. This leads to trust, gratitude and delight. When we feel bonded, we are healthier, happier, and freer to be our best, bravest selves.

Can you imagine what would improve if we all were healthier, happier and being our best, bravest selves?

Only everything.

The speakers were largely talking about how people (consumer audiences) feel bonded (or not) with brands (companies and organizations).  I am interested in the employee audience: how do we feel bonded at work?

We used to find our bonding through families, spiritual institutions, work and community responsibility, but things have changed: smaller families, fewer siblings, migration (especially to cities), more individualism, more tribes to connect with. All this has led to a shift in where we seek out our bonds.

Enter: The chosen work family. The professional friendship. Project bonding.

For many of us work has become the most significant organizing social force. More than an identifier (What do you do?), it is often an important social group to whom we feel responsible. In the past this may have been due to a sense of responsibility, professionalism and protocol, but now it seems that, ideally, we want the benefits that go along with actually feeling and being bonded to those people we spend so much time with and with whom experience the many highs and lows that work inevitably smacks us with.

We seek meaning in and through our work more than ever. We want our work to mean something, we don’t just want to log hours. We want our bonds to mean something. We don’t want to just tolerate our work mates — we want to feel like they have our back!

We have come to understand that every good relationship and every shared project can bring us more meaning, more bonding, and deeper connections. We want our work to provide the circumstances that help us be our healthier, happier, best, bravest selves.

These were the featured speakers who were talking about this stuff:

Seth Godin — New York Times Bestselling Author, Purple CowLinchpinTribes and more

Keith Ferrazzi — #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back

Brian Wong — Founder & CEO of Kiip and Featured in Forbes 30 Under 30

Mitch Joel — President of Twist Image and Bestselling Author, Six Pixels of Separation and Ctrl Alt Delete