Be Relational, Not Transactional
Updated: Apr 7
Too many processes and too many leaders treat customers, colleagues and employees transactionally, like cogs in a machine. That’s a huge waste. When business relationships are devoid of intimacy, we lose opportunities to work with people, to make something better together.
Transforming to an agile mindset isn’t about forcing people to comply with processes or initiatives or new tools. It’s not about compelling people to fall in line. You can try to do that—plenty of companies do—but it probably won’t change anyone’s mind.
How can I engage with you without making you do something you don’t want to? By helping you change your perspective. By treating our relationship as a relationship.
When you boil business down to its essence, it’s about people.
When you boil business down to its essence, it’s about people. Imagine how many problems companies cause by treating people badly. (Actually, don’t. Just read the news.) So many of the internal problems faced by businesses are human problems: infighting, bad actors, power struggles, awful behavior.
Treating people well, helping them change how they approach their daily work, unlocks tremendous business and human potential. Instead of adopting an end-justifies-the-means approach, give time and space for people to process, think, be human. Respect them. Be relational.
Now imagine being able to continuously improve. Imagine amplifying your company’s strengths, helping it move faster, act smarter, evolve and grow. That’s what business agility can do: Unlock people’s creative freedom, flow, and flexibility to reach business goals.
Side note: I love Charles Green’s trust equation.
This is how to collaborate—it’s what I mean by being relational. Relationships are based on trust. In business, trust is a hugely important pillar of successful teams and companies. Without it, systems break down. You just can’t empower people who you don’t trust.
Credibilty means that you know your stuff.
Reliability means that I can rely on you.
Intimacy is how safe we feel sharing with each other. And you can’t get this if you’re transactional.
Self-orientation—the divisor—has the power to slice all the above. If you care more about yourself than us, why would I trust you?