Sep 2008

Building relationships daily

Lessons learned and introspection are two sides of the same coin. Lessons learned is used more in an organisational setting (often called other names) and introspection is used more in a personal setting. The process hinges on the observation along two dimensions: the visible (what happened) versus the non-visible (what did not happen), and the task versus the people. People are about relationships.

Companies cannot exist if not for the people in it – from the smallest to the largest of companies. Machineries and computers are operated by people. Information is analysed and synthesised by people. Business relationships happen among groups of people from various companies. Jay Ball from Banner wrote in his eBook, Cracked – A small guide to big ideas :

“We are, at the end of the day, always talking to people. Yes they may be IT-director-people or CEO-people or plasma-TV-buying people, but they are first and foremost people.” #quotes

People are not numbers; they have warm blood, free will, and feeling. Relationships among people are nurtured through understanding and trust. People can be complicated and relationships take time and effort. At the same time, their positions in the organisation do not make the relationships any easier, or more difficult, to nurture. Relationships are uniquely influenced by the “chemistry” of the people involved combined with the circumstances around them.

The “humblest” team members or stakeholders, the ones that are thought of as “least important”, they also deserve the investment of time and effort worthy of any relationship, irrespective of positions. And when time is short and to-do list is long, it seems like a natural decision to prioritise investment of time and effort on the “more important” stakeholders over the “less important” ones, with importance dynamically adjusted based on a given circumstance.

But there is a saying, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” ... The implication is that the “less important” stakeholders can be as critical as the “more important” ones at a given circumstance. And there is no telling in advance when and which circumstance it would be.

Nurturing relationships with team members and stakeholders – all of them – needs to be a daily goal, one relationship at a time. And more importantly, relationships with people in personal life must be nurtured too. Colleagues and business partners come and go as people move on in their careers, but families and friends whose relationships are well nurtured — they stay around.

The following poem is applicable for personal introspection as well as for organisational lessons learned. It speaks of relationships and more. The poetic language should not be dismissed as irrelevant, but, instead, it should be taken as an intellectual challenge to decipher and translate into both personal and corporate life. One would be wise to reflect on it often.

At the end of the day – a mirror of questions

What dreams did I create last night? Where did my eyes linger today? Where was I blind? Where was I hurt without anyone noticing? What did I learn today? What did I read? What new thoughts visited me? What differences did I notice in those closest to me? Who did I neglect? Where did I neglect myself? What did I begin today that might endure? How were my conversations? What did I do today for the poor and the excluded? Did I remember the dead today? Where could I have exposed myself to the risk of something different? Where did I allow myself to receive love? With whom today did I feel most myself? What reached me today? How deep did it imprint? Who saw me today? What visitations had I from the past and from the future? What did I avoid today? From the evidence – why was I given this day?

This poem is quoted from the book Benedictus (European version), or also called To Bless The Space Between Us (North American version), authored by the late John O'Donohue .

#random #obxerve