The soft stuff is the hard stuff

Listening to endless presentations about business and technology as I do it becomes more and more obvious that the opportunity to capitalise on increased connectivity, and the need to reinvent our institutions, are entirely dependent on the quality of our relationships. Shame people are still squeamish about talking about this.

12 thoughts on “The soft stuff is the hard stuff

  1. True! I have learnt that there is a lack of understanding of how people minds are by each of us. I found studying NLP and understanding more about how we think and how our minds relate to each other is so valuable it should really be taught in schools let alone University Just understanding how we start discussions and disclose is a model and that model is seldom known by most people. We do a lot on content but very little on true interaction between individuals and when groups are involved it just compounds the lack of relationship.I would recommend highly that business and technology people at least do the NLP Core skills course, this would vastly increase connectivity.


  2. Hi EuanThis is the one that always gets me and what I am learning as each day passes is that understanding is a lot easier face to face. Nothing taken out of context. A simple example is a drawing review. It works efficiently by email but there is nothing like a workshop with all stakeholders and one drawing to iron out the nuts and bolts. Simple but it seems to work….That said…technolgy is an enabler…it's just a question of merging the two and coming out with a win win!Enjoy your week-end…


  3. I agree absolutely, and it's very hard to get the message across. The focus on 'ROI' makes it easier to get support for quantitative changes than qualitative changes.. I have a firm conviction that what makes businesses work is what people do when the boss isn't looking, but the higher up in a company you go, the harder it is to explain that!


  4. The very same conclusion was drawn by 60 people who attended a Knowledge Cafe that I facilitated with David Gurteen on Friday. They showed up to discuss how they could improve 'knowledge and intelligence' sharing between staff in the regions (the do-ers in the country) and the head office (the decision-makers in the city).Most of their actions centred around ways of changing culture to support informal conversations and time to build relationships across networks.


  5. Been thinking about Benoit Mandelbrot recently. As I am sure you are aware, he died a few weeks ago.He pondered how to measure a coastline and observed that the closer you look, the more complex and detailed a coast looks and the more impossible it becomes to measure. I am probably poorly paraphrasing. My mind makes connections and so I find myself linking back to Karl Weick's "Social Psychology of Organising". Again paraphrasing, he says that adopting a minimalist approach to understanding social dynamics reveals enormous complexity. So connecting back to Mandelbrot, it seems to me that like the coastline, the closer you get to dynamic, social human behaviour, the more complex it appears. So much easier for the business schools and experts to talk in terms of frameworks and methods. We have all worked somewhere and know from experience that the quality of our relationships is what fundamentally matters. We know it and choose to ignore it. Too difficult? Oh and then re-invent. Enterprise 2.0, anyone?


  6. Your first comment, such a well-articulated thought Anne-Marie. Sets off a series of mental and experiential connections across the years related to intervening in organizational systems, whether in the guise of a method / practice or in more free-form ways.It always comes back to the quality of relationships and the environment / conditions in which the relationships happen, grow and live.


  7. "Sets off a series of mental and experiential connections across the years".Yes, Jon. Am realising that there are advantages in having been around the block a few times. The only thing is, I feel a bit like the Ancient Mariner wagging my bony old finger and forcing people to stop and listen. Must pack that in!


  8. There are loads of us who are not squeamish about talking about it – unless of course we are at work talking to the boss, which let's face it, is where these conversations are needed most. I love Gordon Rae's comment above!


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