Coaching Conversations

Do We Really Know Each Other in Our Workplaces

June 10, 2021 Tim Hagen
Coaching Conversations
Do We Really Know Each Other in Our Workplaces
Show Notes Transcript

This episode is about really understanding the value of what we call "Foundational Relationships". It depicts a connection beyond the transactional or work-driven interaction whereby people know about one another in terms of interests and passions.

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When we think about workplace cultures, and we think about some of the things that we need to do. And we think about how we're connected and how we're not connected. I think about five different levels of relationships, and I'm going to draw some different perspective to this, but do we really know each other? And I think about at the base of a triangle, something called the foundational relationship. Do we know one another outside of the business interaction? So I have employees, and do I know what their interests are outside of the organization. That doesn't mean that we have to socialize or have dinner, but do we know what their interests are. Do we know what their passions and motivations are. Do we know the person void of our business interaction that set the foundation.

The next level above that is something called a tactical relationship. We have tactical relationships in sales. We have customers that we're selling. Sometimes they can be very transactional relationships, which I'm going to touch on here in a bit. We can have tactical relationships with our employees, with our teammates. 

The next level is something called a partner relationship, where we view one another as partners. We're peers we're in this together. Now a trusted peer relationship is someone who you look at that person you say that's my confidence, that's the person I go to, that's the person who will tell me things truthfully. Now trusted peer relationships are rare. You typically don't have 30 of those inside an organization, typically you have one or two. Then you have the almighty top of the pyramid, and that's the unbreakable relationship. No matter what happens. Nothing will disrupt that relationship. Now you can have that with coworkers, bosses, customers. And when you think about that so often, our relationship starts with the tactical before we even get to know each other. Let me draw attention to this. We had a client where two people just absolutely did not like each other, the pandemic hits, they had worked together for seven years, they both found out, they love Golden Retrievers. So think about that. They both saw golden retrievers on their zoom calls, and they immediately realize that the other person had a golden retriever, they never knew it because they never talked recently.

I put out a bid and talk to five organizations to put a new roof on my house. I had a unique requirement, I did not want to meet with anybody. I did not want to meet with anybody. And all of the sudden, out of the five I got two phone calls, and I said in my requirements, I put it out in the Angie's List, I don't want phone calls. Stop by the house, put a bid, I'm not going with the lowest bid, but then I'll go from there and I will have discussions. Two people call me right away, broke the rule. And they said well you know we don't work that way we'd like to come out to the house. And I said, so I'm going to ask you a question, is your attempt to close me. Silence. One guy, honestly said, well of course it is, okay great. Why would I do that, I wouldn't negotiate myself. He said, How would you negotiate against yourself. I said, If I give yyou the business and you're $10 and someone else would have come in at 8, how would I have known that. Because I already gave you the business, I didn't meet with everybody. He said, Oh, he said, We just don't do it that way. I said, Okay great. Then we want to have the five people refused to do with my way and that's okay, I'm not saying they're wrong. Of the three, two of them really connected with me. I said I would prefer texting, and I got into conversations with both of them. And I had one of the most unique experiences with a company called Bulldog Builders, they're here in Wisconsin, and the guy said Oh I'm actually looking at your roof right now, this is what he said. Yeah we have this unique software that allows us to, you know pinpoint your house and look at is, they said, oh you probably have an integration into Google Maps he goes, Oh yeah that's exactly it. 

So he was at our house last night, the night before this podcast episode, and he said down and before he started talking about roofing he said, I've really enjoyed the process of the way you want to do your project. So thanks, and he said, How did you come about that. I started telling him, he said what do you do for a living, so I teach coaching. He said, you ever coach kids, I said, yeah it's one of my passions, boys volleyball. 30 minutes later, I knew he had three kids. He coaches soccer, he coaches baseball. He's got a 13 year old, a 12 year old, and a 9 year old. His name is Nick. We connected. We had a foundational relationship. Then the conversation progressed even more. He does sales training for an organization for homebuilders, specifically for roofing salespeople. So that's a unique niche he goes, I love it. I love, and he goes, You know what I'm changing. I said, what, he goes, We've always been taught to one stop sale, get the sale, don't leave without that sale. And I said, What have you changed it to and he said, Honestly, get to know the people you're going to work with. So I've offered to do him a video testimonial, I just, I just connected with the guy.

Now, let's bring it back to the workplace. I just did a coaching session with somebody who had a pretty personal issue that was a conjuring up some, I would say workplace challenges as leader and his boss asked me to have the conversation they had known each other 11 years, this is not a pot shot at the boss, instead of going in and talking about the problem, and talking about the challenge. We just starting to find out about his childhood he started to share some things I shared some things, and we just talked. And I said, you know, by the way, I said one of the things that's hindering or potentially hindering the perception of your leadership is XYZ, and he nods, he puts his head down, I said Yeah, where does, where does that come from. I didn't go in charging hard. I didn't go in and certainly tactically going after him and saying, you know you we've got a problem here, because when we talk about problem talk about problems we really let people know you've got problems. I foundationally just started to talk to him, found out during this childhood. He had a number of things that caused, for lack of better description, a trigger in the workplace, I'll leave it at that. And it went back to his boss, shared with them, we have seen, I don't want to see dramatic change we've seen really short term positive change, helping him be more comfortable pursuing this his boss said, He's worked for me for 11 years, I never knew that he said, How did you get that our of him, because his question of me was what it was tactical and it's honestly just get to know each other.

Do we really have unbreakable relationships in the workplace. And if you don't usually an unbreakable relationship, like my partner, that's an unbreakable relationship, nothing will come between us. Now I have trusted peer relationships. Now I have partner relationships. I certainly have tactical relationships. Yes, at the foundation of every one of those, I try to foundationaly create a connection, and the connection doesn't mean what we always have in common. The connection is understanding what they're passionate about. Now ironically the gentleman from the roofing company, he just happened to be into US sports like me, yet one of my own employees last night sent me a video of something that she does, as a hobby, and it's in the martial arts field, it's in Kung Fu, it was awesome. And I, I watched the video and I got his is so cool that you do this, doesn't interest me at all, probably because I couldn't do it with my body, but it was, she was sharing herself. What did we just do brought in more relationship. We have a foundation of one another. We connect, when we have a connection. The tactical stuff becomes easier to do. See when we only have a work relationship between people, guess what our relationship is dependent upon our work interaction. If you have two people who have a work interaction, who don't know each other versus two people who have the same work interaction, but they both share a love of gardening, which pairs can have a more successful tactical relationship? The two who foundationaly understand one another. Thanks for watching.