Have you ever dreaded a conversation with your boss because you knew you screwed up? Here is how the "dreaded conversation" is transformed into an opportunity for learning and growth in a Relational Organization.
Several months ago, our company entered into an agreement with two people who are champions of Hedy and Yumi’s work. They led an event. And they fulfilled their side of the agreement with us. Our agreement with them was to complete the final accounting for the event prior to 30 days after the event, and transfer the agreed upon funds. I broke the agreement.
I broke the agreement by allowing over 30 days to pass without realizing that three relationships are being affected by the delay:
1- My relationship with my boss Hedy
2- My relationship with myself and with agreements
3- The Relationship between our company and the other party
That "dreaded conversation" with your boss:
In a typical company, when we break an agreement – for example, when we say we are going to do something by a specific time, and we don’t – it is usually followed by that "dreaded conversation" with our boss.
During that conversation we can become anxious, defensive, and distant. We try to sweep the issue under the carpet, we give excuses, and we wonder 'what's the big deal?' Our boss can become angry, critical and judgmental. This all leads to an emotionally hostile environment, to dis-connection, and to a lot of wasted time.
The "relational conversation:"
In a Relational Organization emotional safety is a prime value. Mistakes and problems are seen as opportunities - opportunities for learning and growth. I had the "dreaded conversation" with my boss, Hedy. But instead of wasting time, we had a constructive "relational conversation".
I had the opportunity to take a look at the unconscious thoughts that I had had about the situation: thoughts like "I can let it slide, the agreement was with 'friends', people we know. It’s not like it was with a 'real' company." Or "I have so much to do AND I have to also do this. I’ll get to it when I get to it."
The difference is that in a "relational conversation" I can look at the underlying thoughts that control me, or stop me. I can recognize them as just thoughts, and not 'the truth' about the situation. I can come to the realization that entertaining thoughts like these just continues to waste my own time, sucks the energy, and creates disconnection. As I learn about the unconscious thoughts that rule me, I can then in the future shorten "the gap" between having similar thoughts and taking deliberate, productive action.
I learned the following:
When an agreement is broken, or as soon as you know that it will be broken, acknowledge it, and give a new "by when" it will be completed. Cross the bridge to the other party, and find out how they are affected by your actions (or inaction). They have kept their part of the agreement, and expect specific deliverables by a specific time. Just letting the time pass, drains the emotional energy from us, from them, and from the space between us.
Take corrective action. In this case I acknowledged and took full responsibility for the broken agreement. I took full responsibilty. I gave a new date by when it would be completed. And as a bonus, we gave a free leadership coaching call as compensation for missing the initial date.
Learning how to cross the bridge to the world of the other, is an important aspect of relationships. It doesn't matter if the person is right in front of you, down the hall, or miles away. It doesn't matter if it's your life partner, your mother or brother, your boss, or stakeholders in your company. What does matter is that we continue to live at our growth edge, be open, and be willing to continually learn. A "relational conversation" is a safe learning environment in which we hone our skill at crossing the bridge, grow relationally, and assist in the movement towards a relationally mature world.
To discover more about the Relational Organization, check out our website at www.HedyYumi.com. I welcome all your questions about our programs. I am here to assist you. Please reach me at Geoffrey@HedyYumi.com or 305-604-0100. Thank you.
Tikkun Learning Center