Today, I read a very interesting manifesto called: “Today’s Trojan Horse” by Diana McLain Smith. The manifesto talks about the importance of relationships. Smith claims that people disregard relationships and treat them like nonimportant soft-skills due to mistaken beliefs about our ability to influence and utilize them.
As I was reading this, I thought to myself that although the focus on relationships is important and interesting and might be even useful, what is really needed is a change in the way people in organizations communicate. The problems people experience in professional relationships are just a manifestation of their inability to communicate. The problem is that ironically, most organizations today operate in a way that hinders effective communication. If you will come into a team in an existing organization and try to talk about your feelings and putting everything on the table, in the way the manifesto suggests, you will run into great difficulties. Not only people will refuse, openly or not, to cooperate with you, but actually the infrastructure of communication in the organization does not support these attempts. There is no time for such communication in meetings. There are no regular feedbacks sessions that help people communicate what they are really thinking. There are no meeting between high management and the low-end workers. There is no flow of information.
I am not saying you should not take the advice the manifesto expenses and try it out. On the contrary, I think most of it is parallel to “communicate” concept I lay out in my E-book, “Playing It to Excellence and Happiness in Real Life – Five Concepts I Learned by Playing Basketball, Working and just Living”. I am just saying that there needs to be a deeper change in the infrastructure and organizational culture of most organizations in order to allow communication or relationships to flourish. This is a process that will take time and effort, resources that will only be allocated as soon as senior management begins to understand the long term effects of these concepts.