The Two Reasons Relationships Stumble.
At the heart of it there are two reasons why relationships, why collaborations fail:
- We don’t know or understand ourselves.
- We don’t know or understand other people.
We don’t understand or know ourselves.
From the inside out, we probably think we are pretty low maintenance, easy to get on with, fairly with it, not difficult at all. Of all the relationships that we have had that have gone South, it was of course, mainly the other parties who were high maintenance, psychos, just not able to ‘get us’.
A sustainable effective partnership is not between the super compatible and foible free individuals it’s the one between the two parties who have the wherewithal to accommodate their relative insanities and incomprehensible behavioural tics.
If we think we are really easy to get along with, especially in times of stress and strains, then alarm bells need to start ringing.
A good place to start in establishing robust, human high performance teams is to share and understand where we might just be a little bit odd, unpredictable and far more complex that can be observed. We are not the cover – we are the long, complex unfolding narrative of the book. (The question I like to get project teams to discuss is “where might you be a little odd?)
We don’t know or understand others.
Because we don’t know ourselves we are in a no position to smartly articulate what we are like to others. It’s really quite an effort to know yourself let alone inform our partners of what to expect and how to handle us for the best.
Because it’s hard to figure people out, and there are irritating gaps in our knowledge, we tend to fill in the missing bits. We are great practitioners of elaboration. Nature and people abhor a vacuum so we tend to fill it with assumptions and poorly informed judgments; either to think too well and too optimistically or too badly of another.
Most successful collaborations are not beautiful relationships but rather tolerable accommodations.
Knowing oneself takes massive effort usually residing in reflection which, is rare on the ground.
Knowing others takes great patience, experience, tolerance and work. How much of that is in the diary this week?