Everything is a relationship, or lack of one. Relationships are the cornerstones of anything long-term. Your most important relationships are the ones that affected you the most, to the core. What are their hallmarks? Real relationships include being cared about, believed in, mutually. For example: Did your best boss, or teacher, or mentor care and believe in you? The answer is of course, yes, and you felt it too, didn’t you? And you cared about and believed in them in return. This mutual connection of caring and believing in was THE main ingredient, without which no real relationship would have been possible.
This is the secret key to all relationships; being believed in and cared about, not just seen as being “useful.” This is never more important than in a romantic relationship and yet mostly ignored. When a woman feels her man wants her only for sex and to do chores, her soul feels invisible, she feels unimportant, of little value. She resents this and it lessens her. When a man is seen as the stereotypical hero, protector, provider who takes out the garbage, but his essence is not seen, cared about or valued, he feels of little value. He resents and is lessened too. The barter system that has replaced sacred union in many marriages illustrates this.
While the above is clear, what is not clear is that all long-term real relationships are based in the same principals. This includes employer-employee, provider-client, apartment resident-doorman, etc. It doesn’t matter. Even if you remember the smallest personal detail about this person and ask about it indicates they as a human being have importance to you. Remembering a persons name is a good one that I struggle with personally. When I can’t remember, I make sure somehow by mentioning some detail that I do remember to show they are not taken for granted. I use word association to improve my retention and repeat their names when I meet them. Why, because they are important as human beings.
The words we commonly apply to important business relationships include: trust, caring, respect, mutuality, and win-win. These all are a part of creating good solid business relationships. The words we apply to personal relationships include: caring, intimacy, love, passion, fun, and exciting. By the way, intimacy does not mean sex, but a close, familiar, vulnerable relationship with another person or group (in-to-me-see). Here is where our thinking processes are in error; we created a distinction where there is none. Business and personal relationships’ qualities are not mutually exclusive. It is when we separate them that we deny others and our own essential humanness, because it is easier. Relationships require work.
We have become a society that worships the god of easier, laziness. We produce little and want a lot. This is our downfall. Easier means others get to do the hard work. The Chinese have agreed to be our Coolies and now own a substantial portion of our assets. This is the affect of the disease of easier. We have relegated others into transactional associations with us. This allows us not to care. Wall Street has always been about individual profit at the expense of others. Banks that charge ridiculous interest rates are another. Easier and its close cousin, gluttony are readily evident.
A transactional “relationship” is really just an interaction devoid of relationship. In a corporation we can see it in departments that hate each other. There is a complete lack of respect and understanding of the underlying relationships that is at cause. A great example is the department that all love to hate, the so-called Human Relations Department. Inhuman is more like it. Yet, they are not to blame. It is leadership that is. The buck stops there for a reason. They set the tone; they create the proper behavior models. And remember, most executives nowadays are almost exclusively interested in their “compensation packages.” How they get it, or how it affects the company as a whole, which includes the “underlings,” is not their concern.
I recently spoke on the above topic at an event of mostly business owners and afterwards an attendee came up to me and said, “My wife came to me when the economy went sour and said, ‘we have enough money, do not lay off a single person’.” He said he agreed with her and didn’t let anyone go. This says volumes about his loyalty, his caring for his employees. He will reap the benefits, as will his employees. Yet, in corporate America, we send in “efficiency experts” to slash what is seen as a “bloated” workforce. It is now about getting the work of three from one worker who is terrified of losing a job. The long-term effects will be disastrous. Our industries will continue to produce a declining product, because management and the shareholders want short-term profits. The bloat is mostly at the top. Limiting bonuses and incentives would be a great start, voluntarily would be ideal. The essence of this executive problem is covered in my previous article Failure of Corporate Culture, but it boils down to egocentric greed. These scenarios are all possible because transactional interactions have replaced human relationships.
We have come to the time were we are faced with the choice between what is right and what is easy. Essentially, it’s all about easy money versus correct behavior. Easy money has always held an attraction and in the past forty years it seems the pendulum swung heavily in favor of easy. The effects on our world are quite evident, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot, and nothing is easy anymore. Time to make new choices, earn real rewards, and create real things. Speculation to make a quick buck is parasitic in the long-term. Start building real relationships today.
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