I want to take this opportunity to tell you what it is like working for and with Hedy and Yumi Schleifer.  It is being active and creative inside of a relational environment.  We call this relational culture the Relational Organization.

Working in a Relational Organization means always being stretched at your growth edge – that point where you are stepping out of your comfort zone.  Every phone call, every meeting, every conversation with Hedy and Yumi becomes an opportunity for me to be at my growth edge.  My ego says "go away" while at the same time my relational consciousness says "more please."  It’s an interesting place to work.

Recently, during a meeting with a consultant, Hedy was talking about all of her best qualities. She was describing how proficient she has become with her expertise in working with couples during her long career.  All very true.  And what I heard is her bragging, and I said to myself "WOW, what an ego!"  Working for a Relational Organization where emotional safety is a prime value, and knowing that MY thoughts are all about ME, I told Hedy what I was thinking after the meeting.  (Can you see yourself telling your boss you thought they were bragging and had a big ego?)

In the conversation that followed, Hedy and I realized that I have a "Self Appreciation Deficit" (SAD).  One concept that Hedy and Yumi teach, based on the research of John Gottman of the University of Washington in Seattle, is "the 5 to 1 ratio": giving at least 5 appreciations for every 1 criticism. As human beings, even if we hear many, many positives, we tend to focus on that one negative. It is important to give your partner, and yourself, many, many more appreciations than criticisms. You can watch Hedy and Yumi talk about this 5 to 1 ratio in this video interview.

Now, every single day, as part of our end-of-the-day call, I tell Hedy what I appreciate most about myself for that day.  Sometime I start with “what I appreciate about myself today is…” and then there is a long, long pause while I think of something.  Hedy waits for as long as it takes until I find something to appreciate about myself. That is working for a relational organization.

I highly recommend giving this a try.  Not only making sure you give your partner, friends, family members, and co-workers 5 appreciations for every criticism, but making sure you appreciate something about yourself every day.  Be sure to do it. Have your partner ask you the question "what is it that you appreciate about yourself today?"

I am excited to send you this message because not only do I work in a relational organization, but Hedy and Yumi teach courses in the Relational Organization and the Relationally Intelligent Leader.

We walk our talk.

Warm Regards,


Geoffrey Swetz
Operations Manager
Tikkun Learning Center