The dinner started with a senior business manager thanking each for their time and presence. As I listened to his words, I was struck by the way he connected his priorities and passion to the contributions made by the individual present. In each case, one first felt his words and then sensed the direct connection with different members of the team.
His remarks began with a simple connection to each in the room. Metaphorically, he echoed Paul’s words. “I’ve always been passionately on God’s side, just as you are right now.” (Acts 22.3)
The reminder, personal and transparent, was an invitation to hear with our hearts as well as our minds. I understood where he was coming from. The position resonated in a way that created a desire for more.
The public exposure of how others were supporting the priorities established a feeling of community. The audience reflected a range of geographies, disciplines, and seniority. Other than the name of our organization, there is little to naturally bind us. His words were an invitation to see beyond our walls.
The reminders of our shared aspirations gave us a foundation where we could share our differences. I saw others coming with strengths and experiences I did not have. The links between us were filled with hope and opportunities. It was clear that the possibilities extended beyond my imagination.
In the context of a business dinner, the remarks were short and to the point. By the end of the evening, I realized how important they were to the conversations that followed. We were exploring the world of Others. We were listening without agendas. The experience enriched individually and as a community.
As the dinner wound down, I found myself looking at the people present through different eyes. Without any apparent effort, yesterday’s barriers between us had been dismantled. New links were in place. We were stronger for our time together.
I sit in the calm of a new morning knowing that I walk into the office with a difference perspective. Areas that were gray are filled with light.