Relationship Sabotage

Trust is a reciprocal commodity in the future of work. Trust powers collaboration and facilitates exchange in networks. Trust is also reciprocal. Make sure your levels of trust of others are not sabotaging your relationships.

Part of any decision to trust another is an assessment of how they treat us. Trust is reciprocal. We can make finely tuned assessments on how much trust others put in us by simply examining how we interact, how well their goals are aligned to ours and how much reciprocity of trust we experience.

If you start from the assumption that your employees and customers are incipient criminals, it will show itself in your policies and processes. The levels of security and inconvenience that result will be a constant reminder to customers and employees that you don’t trust them.  Even if your levels of protection are in line with your industry peers, you will still bear the consequences of that action in the way your customers and your employees interact with you. Transactions will be more costly, loyalty will be lower and complaints & errors will be harder to resolve because you won’t have the benefit of trust to fall back on.

Are your levels of trust set for the real risks and opportunities in your relationships? Make sure you are not penalising everyone for one individual’s error. Remember if you distrust employees that will flow on to customers and if you distrust customers you employees will experience the consequences. Your customer and employee experience are one experience.

Too many organisations with persistent challenges in lifting engagement or customer advocacy continue to sabotage their key relationship. Make sure you are different. Trust a little more.

Sell Aggression. Buy Relationships


I saw a list shared on twitter of 25 books for CEOs from 2015. The above image was attached to the tweet. I reacted immediately to the macho impression of the attached image of the covers. Then I looked more closely and realised many of the subtitles run contrary to the general image of the cover. These books look like the typical aggressive competitive advice for CEOs to outcompete, outperform and to go big. However, the actual advice within the aggressive red or yellow cover is far more nuanced. Human relationships matter.

Sell Aggression

This is an old game. Strong leadership sells. We sell aggression. Alpha males rule the chimp pack. Wear red and yellow. Stand in a power pose. Be the best. Be simple. Know the right answer. Do one thing better than anyone else on earth and rule the whole damn thing.

Except this is the cheap shot. Aggression primes our primate brain and gets our attention. Aggression makes us pick up the book. Aggression isn’t what makes change happen and isn’t what delivers results. Aggression is the empty wind of a loud shouting exploitative push economy. Aggression is the bait in a leadership bait and switch.

Buy Relationships

Any successful leader knows that relationships is where the real work gets done. Collaboration and cooperation drive progress, not force. Nothing gets done alone. You don’t want anything done by the coerced. You want commitment not compliance.

Humanity triumphs again and again against the forces of power. Force an outcome and passive resistance will undermine its effectiveness. Bureaucracy rules. For every blustery threat, the real deal gets done in a quiet conversation as power is traded for persuasion.

Win commitment and you will see people’s capabilities blossom. The messy beautiful work of leveraging the capabilities of people happens in rich, complex and unpredictable networks of oh so human relationships. That far less saleable work, but it is the work of value. Relationships are where leaders seal the deal when they switch away from the bait of aggression.

Portfolio for the Future of Work

As our economies become more connected, faster and more complicated, these human relationships will only increase in value. Relationships bring information, trust & authority, critical differentiators, cost-lowering capabilities and fundamental elements of effectiveness.

The portfolio strategy for leaders in the future of work is to be long relationships. Those relationships will make your work far richer and more human. Buy now.