'Let's do lunch,' more than a meal

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. John Babcock
  • Deputy director of Information and Communications
Have you ever stopped to wonder just what the phrase "Let's do lunch" means? 

To many people it is simply an invitation to eat. To others it is a bad play on words telling someone, "You aren't important enough for me to talk to now. If in the future that changes, I'll be glad to meet with you at a time and place very convenient for me and not so for you." 

What does the phrase mean to you? 

In the 2001 book, "Business is a Contact Sport" by Tom Richardson, Gus Vidaurreta, Tom Gorman and Agusto Vidaurreta, the authors point out that while people are a valuable resource to any organization, it is the relationships they have with others inside and outside the organization that are their true strengths. They use the term relationship web. The book is a great read and won't take too much of your time. 

Who does your relationship web consist of? Do you stay in the same comfortable circle, or do you challenge yourself to develop more contacts outside of your area of expertise? 

During our working day, there are so many things demanding our time it is very easy to forget that one of the most valuable (if not the most valuable) things we have is the relationships we have forged with others outside of our areas of expertise. 

Many people do not even realize that they have access to incredible pools of talent down the hall or upstairs or just a phone call away. That is the kind of talent that allows you to connect the dots of your working day in ways that sometimes amaze and astound you and cause your supervisor to think (or say), "That's why I hired you!" 

It has often been pointed out to me by others that all I seem to do is walk around and talk to people. And I am guilty of that. One of my fellow deputies (jokingly, of course) told me once that she wants my job. When I asked her why, she said it was because I didn't do anything! I explained that just because I make it look easy, doesn't mean it is easy. The reality is I am always trying to expand my relationship web. 

Considering there are about 400 people here at ARPC that are easily smarter and more talented than I am, expanding my relationship web is a daunting task. But one I am up for. What does that have to do with lunch? It's just another way to expand your web, and do it outside of all the distractions of the normal work day. Talk about things other than work with people who don't do the same work you do. Listen and learn about someone or something else. Give your mind a break from your grind. 

While we all have busy days and times, we don't have them all the time. Make the time to get away while continuing to make yourself a more valuable resource to your organization. What did you do for lunch today?