“…cause you’re there for me, too.”
–I’ll Be There for You by The Rembrandts
Last year, Friends turned 25. Back in 1994, when the series debuted on NBC, millions tuned-in and watched weekly. Viewers grew to know six people in two distinct ways. First, as the ensemble cast who brought their quirky characters –Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey – to life. Secondly, viewers became familiar with them as six individual talents – as entertainers, contributors and performers.
Each season – Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc – got up, showed up, rolled-up their sleeves, cultivated their roles and worked together. Then, as the show became more successful, and their celebrity status grew, they also showed up (time and again) to support one another – as individuals and together as a team – when the stakes were high, with a variety of professional and individual pressures they faced.
For over a decade, Friends consistently ranked in the top ten ratings each season. The night the final episode aired, over 52 million people tuned in to watch their scripted journey come to an end. Now that’s a whole lot of friends, aka followers and connections! These days syndication ensures Friends continues to be “there” for new generations of viewers (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap). There’s even buzz regarding a potential reunion.
Back when the show first aired, the cast of Friends was focused (on and off screen!) on trying to launch their careers. Nowadays, we imagine we’d most likely find …. Rachel leads the strategic platform and brand “voice” at a lifestyle brand. While Ross & Co. are likely busy remastering a mid-career “pivot” … The others? They could be focused on reinventing themselves, pitching a new project launch, reimaging a professional pursuit that aligns more closely with their personal passion, etc. Phoebe? Turns out she was the real entrepreneurial visionary of the group! Her path as a massage therapist may have transformed into leading a holistic wellness practice that helps professionals deal with anxiety and burnout. If so, her business is flourishing in lower Manhattan!
Last Tuesday was #NationalMakeAFriendDay (which is what got us thinking about Friends in the first place). Of course many things have changed since the show aired. These days, you are personally far more likely to “run into” your previous colleagues and longtime professional friends online versus your local coffee shop. And, let’s get candid, can you even recall the last time you really had time to catch up, listen and encourage another team member over lunch – much less spend a leisurely afternoon hanging out with them in a shared work-life space (i.e., think back to those scenes in Central Perk!)?
Ready for some encouraging news? Recent research findings from Gallup* found workplace engagement trends are improving. Let’s be clear: Connections matter. Work relationships transform our lives. The quality of relationships within organizations deepens overall organizational engagement as well as successfully encouraging wellbeing and trust in our workplaces.
Here’s our challenge to you, leader. This week, intentionally set aside some solo time to dig deeper on the topic of how your organization is approaching culture. Here are a few questions to explore:
1. Do you think your organization supports strong or weak ties in terms of building connections for all members of the larger team?
2. How do you think this affects your business performance? Team creativity?
3. What are your thoughts on linking workplace engagement with business outcomes?
4. Are interested in creating a workplace culture that people are passionate about?
For more than 20 years, we have partnered with clients to solve business problems. All our work and transformational coaching targets how to meet the specific challenges facing you and the business you lead. Stop thinking about what you should do. Let’s schedule time to talk about partnering with you!
*Source: Gallup – 4 Factors Driving Record-High Employee Engagement in U.S.