You are NOT your job!May 5, 2017
A lot of the work I do in organisations is about relationships. How to coach someone to have better relationships, how to have more impact, how to bring teams together to operate more powerfully. There seem to be a lot of businesses where relationships, teams and so-called collaboration just isn’t working.
So what gets in the way? Having worked with many organisations over the last 10 years, my sense is that the issue is in the set-up of the relationship, the team or the collaboration. There is often the sense that one person has the power over the other, that there hasn’t been true engagement at a human level at the beginning, or there was some sort of group-vision which means the individual needs have somehow been diluted in order to form a common goal.
I think this is also to do with the way we are sometimes brought up. To think that relationships are about compromise or at a more extreme level about sacrificing our own needs for somebody else or the greater good. Many of us were brought up to believe that being selfish is not a good thing and that to give and sacrifice is positive. We are not accustomed to (or often very good at) taking care of our own needs.
I have both a cat and a Labrador in my house and I love them both dearly. However I’ve come to realise that in partnerships and collaboration, most of us need to be more cat! My cat knows exactly what she wants and needs in any moment. She gets her needs met. She is also affectionate, loving and has an amazing energy that she brings to the house and to our family.
I look at her and think ‘wow you have got this sorted!'. She lives the happiest, most satisfied life, is vocal and direct about what she wants and needs, and when I see her stretched out and relaxed she is really quite zen!
My dog Rosie, a Labrador, is also beautiful but she is very dependent on us to get her needs met. She needs us to get her dinner, to take her for walkies and to give a fuss. That is amazing and I love being around a happy Labrador, it really makes me happy. However I think the cat may have got it more sussed!
Why do I use this analogy? Because I believe in any successful relationship that both parties need to get their needs and desires met. Whenever we try to compromise or to come together under one ‘common vision’ then the reality is that either only one person wins and the other feels compromised or that we both dilute what we want in order to find the common ground.
For me a successful partnership comes when we have each identified our own needs, desires and what we want to create in our lives and work. And then and only then do we look at the overlap. Where do these needs and desires meet? What do we truly have in common? What is the purpose of our coming together at this point in time? What are we both trying to achieve? What are we both attracted to in this enterprise/business/team/project?
When you build a partnership on this basis then no one feels like they have compromised or that they have lost anything. And the brilliant news is that each person feels acknowledged and seen and recognised for who they are. In my experience, this is when powerful relationships, collaborations and organisations are formed.
So , my top 3 tips on forming successful relationships/collaborations:
1. YOU – start with the individual and ask. What draws me to this relationship/enterprise? What inspires me to be part of it? What does it fulfil for me? How does it help me on my journey in my life?
2. OTHER(s) - to really see and appreciate the other person/people for what they are bringing to the collaboration. Who are they? What do they really want to achieve? What’s in it for them? How does it help them achieve more of what they want to develop into/become in their life?
3. THE COLLABORATION - then and only then look at the overlap. How can this collaboration and this relationship help us each to be more of who we are and achieve more of what we are here to do in our lives? Does it fit for both of us?
When relationships are built from this platform you will always have connection, engagement and the purity of human endeavour.
I’d love to know your thoughts!
Eternally more important than your job!