From Brain Pickings: In his new book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, neuroscientist Matthew D. Lieberman, director of UCLA’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience lab, sets out to “get clear about ‘who we are’ as social creatures and to reveal how a more accurate understanding of our social nature can improve our lives and our society. Lieberman, who has spent the past two decades using tools like fMRI to study how the human brain responds to its social context, has found over and over again that our brains aren’t merely simplistic mechanisms that only respond to pain and pleasure, as philosopher Jeremy Bentham famously claimed, but are instead wired to connect. At the heart of his inquiry is a simple question: Why do we feel such intense agony when we lose a loved one? He argues that, far from being a design flaw in our neural architecture, our capacity for such overwhelming grief is a vital feature of our evolutionary constitution.
From 99%: No matter how talented we are, we still often rely on a network of friends and colleagues to reveal new opportunities. However, “networking” is more than just exchanging business cards. It’s about building relationships in an authentic way.
From Andrew Sobel: You don’t have to become good friends with clients or colleagues. But you do need to get to know them as people. That means understanding their background, family situation, likes and dislikes, preferred means of communications, how they make decisions, their risk tolerance, and so on.
From Andrew Sobel: Studies on marriage show that when couples change their traditional environments (i.e., go to new restaurants, places, events, etc.) their feelings of intimacy increase. The same is true of client relationships. When you get outside the office, and interact over a meal, at an arts performance, or during an offsite meeting, you connect in ways you never will in a formal conference room. You talk about different, more personal things. You open up more.
Edgar Schein writes, "When two or more people come together to form a work or task-oriented group, there will first be a period of essentially self-oriented behavior reflecting various concerns that any new member of a group could be expected to experience." Here are questions to help the team in its forming stage. The questions are designed for each individual to answer and then share with the team.
From Andrew Sobel: Here is a sampling of questions you might use to help you get to know your clients as people (but just don’t use them all at once!).
From Aryanne Oade in ChangeThis: “This manifesto is about how to work with such an adversarial character, whether they are your boss, peer or team member. It is about how to use the specific behavior you need to use to help you manage the unclear boundaries, ambivalent motives and occasional duplicitous conduct that characterizes adversarial working relationships. By the end of the manifesto I hope you will have the insight and interpersonal know-how you need to handle these tricky co-workers more effectively and retain the degree of influence in your work with them that you would like to have.”
From Forum Barcelona: Humberto Maturana stated that “power is based on obedience, the person who obeys gives power to the person who orders.” He stated that “men and woman can be equally discriminating, gender doesn’t matter. It depends on the relationship that we as humans establish among ourselves. This deals with relational behavior, it is a way of relating oneself to others, it has nothing to do with the masculine or feminine gender. It is not biological, but cultural.”
Maturana used the example of the shrew, a very common animal in central Europe. This animal, he explained, regularly repeats its path in its daily life. This said, if the shrew changes its path, it returns to its cave, and starts the path again. “First it is surprised, then it repeats the path, and then it invents a new one. Something similar also happens to humans. When there isn’t a routine we become disoriented, but, in the end, we are creative.”
From NY Times: In 1858, a British epidemiologist named William Farr set out to study what he called the “conjugal condition” of the people of France. He divided the adult population into three distinct categories: the “married,” consisting of husbands and wives; the “celibate,” defined as the bachelors and spinsters who had never married; and finally the “widowed,” those who had experienced the death of a spouse. Using birth, death and marriage records, Farr analyzed the relative mortality rates of the three groups at various ages. The work, a groundbreaking study that helped establish the field of medical statistics, showed that the unmarried died from disease “in undue proportion” to their married counterparts. And the widowed, Farr found, fared worst of all.
From Change This: “Identifying your core relationships is the vital first step you must take in shifting how you perceive your role in any business relationship. Instead of just wishing that better business contacts would magically appear in your professional life, drive the business contacts you’ve already established to more productive and rewarding levels. The initial step of pinpointing your core relationships will lead you toward participating with an actual person rather than with a digital line in a CRM system or on Linked In. A process, however, for driving your core relationships to success, is also vital. I call this process understanding your contact’s Relational GPS™.”
Who’s Got Your Back: Why You Need the “Lifeline Relationships” that Create Success and Won’t Let You Fail
From ChangeThis: Behind every great leader, at the base of every great tale of success, you will find an indispensable circle of trusted advisors, mentors, and colleagues. These groups come in all forms and sizes and can be found at every level and in nearly all spheres of both professional and personal life, but what they all have in common is a unique kind of connection with each other that I’ve come to call lifeline relationships.
At least as far back as Agamemnon and Achilles on the beaches of Troy, relationships have had the power to create or to destroy enormous amounts of capital — human, social, intellectual, and economic. Yet few among us can say anything even remotely systematic about how relationships work, develop, or change. If relationships can have such a decisive impact on the success, even survival, of leaders and their firms, why do so many of us give them such short shrift? The answer lies in the outdated belief system that governs how we conduct business. Among the many beliefs that make up this system, four are killers. This manifesto is a call for us to shift to a new set.