Building working relationships that work

Do relationships at work really matter?  Obviously, they do, or at least most people today think so.  I sure do.  It’s why I’ve been in the organizational relationships and development business for over 35 years.

Building working relationships that work doesn’t just happen.  Like anything else, it requires knowledge, a defined strategy, commitment, and the development of skills – in this case, relational skills.

I believe strongly in the ownership of work and its outcomes by individuals, teams and organizations overall.  For people who are employed and receiving a regular pay check, I’ve coined the word intrepreneurial in place of entrepreneurial, meaning owning their piece of the action on behalf of their employer.

Intrepreneurial performance management is not always an easy thing to accomplish.  It typically requires establishing a whole new understanding of performance responsibilities and expectations between an organization and each of its managers and employees in all directions; up, down and side to side.

I think of this process in terms of negotiating a new contract between employers and employees – a cultural contract, not a legally enforceable contract.  I wrote a book about this crazy notion entitled Team Covenant which defines a 40-year journey and the creation of an award-winning approach for managing human resources that are in keeping with today’s changing times.  This proprietary approach is based on intrepreneurial behavior within a system of building working relationships that work.

Daniel Pink, New York Times best-selling author of DRIVE and other best-selling books on the subject of human behavior in the workplace, says of our approach… “Randy Hopkins understands the new generation of employees and what they need in order to produce exceptional work.  Team Covenant™ offers a thoughtful, holistic approach to human resources that puts people first.”  Mr. Pink, thank you.

So, relationships, especially working relationships (for our purposes), most certainly do matter.   For organizations that yet don’t understand this, the just-around-the-corner consequences for their business success, in my opinion, are dire.

The most important element of building working relationships that actually work is the establishment of genuine and lasting trust between people.  This sounds so obvious and simple, but it isn’t.  Consistently throughout Team Covenant, I make the point that TRUST, above all else, is essential if relationships are in fact to work.  Trust is also the driving force behind achieving sustained intrepreneurial performance.

If an employer sets these goals as important to their success, they can only be achieved when people know that the organization’s interests are compatible with their own individual interests, and vise versa.

There are a great many other factors in creating an organizational culture in sync with a Team Covenant™ type of philosophy.  Our particular expertise and focus are primarily concerned with the interpersonal issues of managing a business.  At the top of this list are such things as:

  • Greater self- and interpersonal-awareness
  • Increased acceptance of differing points of view
  • More tolerance and respect for everyone’s unique individuality
  • Listening instead of thinking about what we’re going to say next
  • Understanding the need to move more to collaboration over competition
  • Learning about our intuitive attitude toward change
  • Looking in the mirror for how we use authority and control
  • Knowing how we deal with interpersonal empathy
  • Comparing our work motivations with those of others
  • And much, much more

In coming articles, we’ll try to address these and other significant OD considerations in greater detail.   The thoughts we’ll share will come from both experience as well as from specific assessment results and examples of using our proprietary technology.

But of equal importance, we invite and encourage others to contribute their experiences and points of view relative to this topic.  We encourage an ongoing conversation about how we all can contribute to increasing the knowledge, strategies, commitments and relational skills needed for building working relationships that truly work.



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