Nurturing your relationships

As we approach the end of the year and perhaps reflect on some new beginnings we might want to start next year, I offer the following situation for your consideration:

I had the opportunity, several years ago, to spend two days with two gentlemen that started a business together. Like many individuals, these two-gentleman entered their business relationship with lots of hope and enthusiasm for what they could create together. And, for the first couple of years, things went well and the business grew. But when the recession hit in 2008, things started to go south. Partner A started to ask for (perhaps demand) more accountability on the part of partner B. Partner B was confused and offended by the requests but didn’t say anything. He confessed in these two days that he had learned to avoid confrontation. After all, his mother had told him that if he didn’t have anything nice to say, he shouldn’t say anything at all.

So partner B started to shut down and withdraw. This just caused partner A to become even more demanding which, of course, had partner B shut down even more. Partner A started to become angry and eventually decided it was time to end the partnership. Partner B felt that would be a mistake and they agreed to bring me in to resolve their differences.

In the two days we spent together, they fully communicated their unfulfilled expectations, thwarted intentions, and disappointments, they got to see what they did to each other, they took responsibility for their actions and behavior and apologized to each other, they forgave each other, they were left with a deep appreciation of each other, they committed to stay together, and they aligned on an amazingly powerful vision for the future of their company, a vision that neither of them could have foreseen before the two days. Pretty amazing result, and it only took 2 days.

As the facilitator of this event (and I have now done this over 200 times), it was both sad and exhilarating, sad because of seeing what these two men had done to each other over a couple of year period and how much they and everyone around them had suffered, and exhilarating to see how easily they could clean this all up in such a short period of time.

Can you relate to this scenario? Have you watched a relationship that you are or were in deteriorate and die? Is that presently going on in your company or in your personal life? I’d bet the answer is yes for the clear majority of you. Would you like to make sure this doesn’t happen for you? Would you too like to rehabilitate a broken relationship?

If the answer to those questions is yes, there are several lessons that you must learn. That will be the subject of next week’s blog so stay tuned.

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