Having great relationships is a process. It is never a done deal given there is always another level to be achieved. This article is about a structure that I’ve found works. And, like any structure it requires persistence to produce the intended results. One thing to remember is there is no perfect way to do anything. Change is inevitable and it will occur with or without our help.
“Until you’ve completed your relationship with your parents, all your relationships will be about your parents”.
The insurance for having any structure is the persistence in our execution of our basic operating principles. Without these, old habits will keep interfering with our intentions. After all, we have had them (habits) for a long time.
BASIC OPERATING PRINCIPLES
Whatever your choices are for operating principles they need to reflect your commitments to other people. I am sharing the ones I use in working with high performance teams. These work whether your “team” is another person or a group of people. Our “Building a Championship Team” workshop operates on these principles. Remember you may choose different ones, but the game is the same—practice them.
CHAMPIONSHIP OPERATING PRINCIPLES
Straight Talk Integrity Trust Commitment Driven
Leadership Accountability Speedy Resolution of Complaints
Proactive Listening Support Coaching as the Catalyst
Coaching as the catalyst is, of course, what causes everything to work. The willingness to coach and be coached. It is a shared responsibility to create action, not just up to the designated leader.
Your principles will only be as effective as your willingness to practice. Practice is about successes and failures. It is a time to stretch, to go beyond what is comfortable. It is the safest place to learn.
Being comfortable is overrated anyway. The nature of human beings is to be uncomfortable when there seems to be no reason for it. Since we will probably make something up that makes us uncomfortable, we might as well be purposeful about it.
The future is uncertain. Uncertainty can be dealt with by being clear about our intentions. Creating a powerful relationship with anyone requires us to be fully responsible for our actions and the results they produce. Life is not a perfect exercise. Get over it and continue to practice.
“If it is comfort you want, life is not the place to be.”
I have a definition for execution that, at first, may not seem to be a fit for our intentions regarding relationships. Just try it on and see if it is actually what we really want to be able to say about our relationships.
Execution—the technique or style with which an artistic work is produced
or carried out
Great relationships are works of art. They are products of intention and, as with anything great, attention to detail. You can’t just slap something together and call it art. It is especially rewarding when it is the efforts of a team that executes with the precision of a symphony orchestra to produce the intended result.
Let’s look at failure some more. Perhaps the most important asset we have is our ability to bounce back from defeat/failure. Unfulfilled expectations. Broken relationships. Crushing defeats. These disappointments are not fatal. The boxer who has been knocked down is immediately defeated if he fails to get up. However if he fails to learn what put him on the canvas he will soon be returned to the mat.
The art in relationships is to transform a problem into a possibility. Since we are a participant in the problem (it’s not always the other guy), it requires us to take responsibility for it. The questions to ask are: 1) what did I do or not do to cause the problem? And, 2) what can I create to cause the disappearance of the problem?
Having it be that the other person is wrong, to blame, at fault, etc., keeps us powerless. When I take responsibility I create an opening for the other person to participate. I have removed the resistance to seeing the possibility of the relationship.
Know this, everything I said will have little value unless backed by strong intention to practice. Life doesn’t care what we want. It doesn’t care what we are committed to or what we need. It is only our intention that causes the directions we take and the results that become available. Our commitments keep us on track.