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The science of why our brains are wired to connect

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. · Go to The science of why our brains are wired to connect →

Relationship breakthoughs #1: Change the relationship environment

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. · Go to Rela­tion­ship break­thoughs #1: Change the rela­tion­ship envi­ron­ment →

Startup questions for team relationships

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.

Principles under pressure: Working in adversarial relationships

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.” · Go to Prin­ci­ples under pres­sure: Working in adver­sarial rela­tion­ships →

Humberto Maturana: “Democracy is an attempt at coexistence, it is based on mutual respect”

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.” · Go to Humberto Matu­rana: “Democ­racy is an attempt at coex­is­tence, it is based on mutual respect” →

Is Marriage Good for Your Health?

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. · Go to Is Marriage Good for Your Health? →

Relational GPS: The Road Map to Outstanding Business Relationships

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™.” · Go to Rela­tional GPS: The Road Map to Outstanding Busi­ness Rela­tion­ships →

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. · Go to Who’s Got Your Back: Why You Need the “Life­line Rela­tion­ships” that Create Success and Won’t Let You Fail →

Today’s Trojan Horse

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. · Go to Today’s Trojan Horse →