Common Outlook Consulting Inc. New Perspectives
September 2015 - Issue # 15-09
Founder's Message

When you go into a coffee shop, you ready yourself for a transaction that involves an exchange of information, goods, and money. The rules are clear. You politely tell the barista what you want in a few words, and after paying a price, you get what you asked for.

If you go into the same coffee shop on a daily basis, that transaction is likely to change. You begin using one another's name; you comment on the weather, or on the fact that you haven't seen one another for a couple of days. The barista remembers your order; says they like your tie/scarf; asks if you work in the building. You feel special...welcomed. You decide you like this coffee shop.
You've small-talked a transaction into a pleasant interaction. It's not meant to be more than that - it's not a negotiation; there's no particular purpose in it, and the stakes aren't high  If we put a Lego analogy to it, we could say the two of you are exchanging run-of-the-mill brown and grey pieces.

But what happens when our interactions with others carry real importance and weight? Or in Lego-speak, what happens when we're expected to share our silver, transparent, or marbled bricks?

This month we're looking at relationship management and the problems created when we treat our interactions and negotiations transactionally.


"I don't believe anything in life is a transaction. I believe everything in life is about relationships."
~ Heidi Roizen


The choice is always the same. Will I let my behaviour tear down or build up the relationship?


Coming Up  
How do you get ready for an important negotiation? There's the usual stuff - thinking about your goals and how to achieve them - but what about your mindset? In October we'll offer input on exactly that.



Relationships, whether at work or at home, are built action by interaction, in much the way kids build structures out of Lego. Yet many of us treat those interactions as finite moments or happenings that have no bearing on what comes next and nothing at all to do with the whole structure of the relationship.

The excuses are familiar and self-serving, i.e. "I'm pressed for time it's okay for me to hurry this process." "I'm under a lot of pressure to produce here to heck with their needs." "I'm higher on the pay scale/have more experience than them I can afford to be brusque or ignore the niceties." Add in misnomers ('It's just business' or 'business is business'), and the right to treat others cavalierly or as a means to an end is justified.

The lack of relationship management is particularly noticeable during negotiations, whether between countries, multi-nationals, teams at work, or between two individuals who are divvying-up household chores. The setting barely matters; the fall-out is the same: loss of respect and/or trust for the other person, resentment, grudges, or avoidance.

The shame is, if we don't take a proactive approach to our relationships, we not only miss out on the richness of well-managed interactions and superior outcomes, we also damage our reputations.
Read more 


Peter Hiddema


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