Water. We take it for granted and never think about how many gallons we are using when we run the sprinkler, fill the pool, take a shower, or if farmers need to turn on the irrigation. But as I look at my brown lawn, full of dead, crunchy grass, I am reminded of the importance of this valuable resource.

Others are recognizing its value as well. Chicago just signed a $1 billion contract to sell its water from Lake Michigan to Joliet, a city about 50 miles away. Illinois is capitalizing on its access to water, and courting heavy water users such as chip manufacturers, food and beverage companies, and data-processing storage centers.

While municipalities are focused on supplying water in large quantities, individuals can (and should) be focused on saving water in smaller quantities. Studies show that leaks make up 12% of indoor water usage, wasting millions of gallons each year.

The lack of water, proliferation of leaks, and redeployment of an existing resource serve as parallels for organizations. There is often a reservoir of collaborative relationships that have always been available but overlooked, small breaches of trust that imperil that asset, but the ability to refocus and leverage the value relationships provide. Don’t let people — your most valuable resource — wither because of a connection drought.

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