I’m sure we all agree that a critical bellwether for an organization’s effectiveness is one in which accountability and personal responsibility create the basis of the culture. Companies where that is the case move forward with dexterity and trust. Another success element worthy of introspection is the nature of relationships and how they impact each of the personal and professional outcomes we have.
I believe the word inter-relationship is truer than the word relationship itself. Results are never due to just one person or one team, even if they fall under one’s accountability. Life, like business, is interwoven. Without question, our inter-relationships influence what we are personally capable of and the outcomes in the organization. Unless you are alone on a desert island, I daresay there is little we do or have — including our thoughts and emotions — that is not influenced or impacted by another. The most pivotal business inter-relationship is with the person you report to and their awareness of how they process information.
Years ago, I was assisting my mentor, Barry Pogorel, in a consulting assignment with a major international hotel group. In a private session, the CEO was blaming several of the executive members for not being this way or that way. At one point, Barry asked the CEO, “Who are you that they are?” “Huh?” I thought to myself. “Huh?” the CEO said out loud.
What Barry was saying is that our previous thoughts and expectations influence how we see and estimate people. He was pointing out that until the CEO can clear his or her mind when engaging, he or she can only hear what she already thinks. I believe Barry was saying that our preconceived perceptions filter what we hear and what we don’t based on opinions we formed on our own or borrowed from others, or what we want to hear. How we think of people edits the future before it can unfold otherwise.
Worth an experiment: Take an employee you don’t praise often. Tell them you see great leadership abilities in them. Describe a few of those. Give them an assignment and see what happens. See if that affects “who are you that they are.”
Relationship implies, “There is me, and there is you, and there is how we relate and the outcome is separate from us.” Inter-relationship implies our outcomes rarely come down to just one person acting independently of others’ expectations and influence. We influence people and consequential results verbally and non-verbally as well as energetically. To become aware of pre-conceived notions and put those aside before we interact with someone can alter outcomes and generate more authentic inter-relationships.
And in an existential moment: “I am that you read.” Thank you.