December 13, 2017

Archives for March 2011

Want to make rapid progress? Get into the “deep” stuff

It’s dark outside. The train is fast and quiet. It only stops at the major stations. It covers a lot of ground in a short time. In contrast, the train to connect with this one stopped more often and took a comparatively long time to cover a short distance. It also wasn’t anything like as smooth.

We’re travelling back from a workshop in Manchester with author and speaker Marianne Williamson – very well done it was too.

Marianne made one point in particular about the level we choose to work at as we go about our daily lives…

“If we work at the shallow level, time will go fast and we will struggle to get everything done; if we work at the deep level, time will go more slowly and we will have plenty of opportunity to do what we need to do.”

Marianne was making a general remark, but of course it applies to relationships with other people…

We have a choice: We can scratch about on the surface and take forever to get something done as we wade through the myriad of details we must discuss to get a result, or we can connect with someone at a deeper level and know then that the details will be taken care of because we have an understanding at a much more profound level.

We tend to shy away from the “deep” stuff – some of us might even “roll our eyes,” but we may be avoiding the very thing that would take us where we want to go more quickly, more easily, more safely and with more lasting results, like the express train.

Of course, we may need to take the “slow train” of a shallow approach to begin the journey and connect in the first place, and perhaps another one to get to our final destination – as we agree the details of what specifically is to happen perhaps – but to cover the big distances in a relationship, we might prefer to go deeper and take the express for as much of the journey as we can.

Personal reflections on relationship skills 1

The CEO (my boss) called me into his office. The room was airless, the atmosphere tense…

Hang on, I’d better explain:

I’ve decided to tell the story of how I got involved in the subject of interpersonal skills, and introduce the 12 Relationship Skills for Success, one at a time like on Twitter.

Let’s go back to 1999…

The story really begins then (or 1963). I was a program director with a UK government contractor, working on the formative stages of a major capital project – “ambiguous” and “jungle” don’t quite cover it. I was effective in the role, but… The shortfall wasn’t engineering or project expertise, or management or leadership; it was certain inadequacies in the way I handled relationships with bosses, partners, peers, other involved parties. I didn’t realise I was making mistakes, of course, (you don’t) and by the time people started telling me, it was really too late.

And so arose the meeting with the boss, and my particular interest in the skills we use with other people.

Over the weeks to come, I’ll tell you what the mistakes were and what happened next.

I’ve had the chance to learn some insightful approaches from great teachers – hard to convey the power if you’ve no experience of them: Powerful ways for getting teams and organisations (large and small) working together, increasing sales, and enjoying family life, all with comparative ease.

Our collective outcomes could be much better if we made more use of what’s available. Relationships and the ability to form them are often the missing piece. We tend to regard that as something we can’t work on, but that’s wrong. We can, with the right approach. The techniques are there, so why wouldn’t we use them? Not to is like going about in the dark when you could have switched on the lights. I can tell you: You bump into things.

Next time: What the boss said, and the first bit of learning.

(This post was first published as an email update from the LinkedIn Group: Relationship Skills for Professional, Business and Personal Success, which you can join here.)