As some of you may have read my previous blog, you will realise that I am now coming to the end of week 6 of my isolation. I have stopped and reflected on it as an experience which I have certainly never had before. Looking back, I have noted some really positive things (and negative ones as well, of course).
Each day of those six weeks I have been in my garden, sometimes to work in it and sometimes simply to enjoy it. I have watched Spring creep in every day - new growth, things that I planted in previous years are flourishing and getting bigger. Even the fish in my garden pond have had a new addition to their family: Darth the black shubunkin. I use modern technology to keep in touch with my friends and family and we all carve out time to speak and share experiences, I think that I know more about what all of them are doing now than I usually would because now my contact is about just that, contact and communication with care and not simply dropping off shopping or grandchildren. A friend, a retired academic, shares his thoughts about how he uses the time by writing for publications and I share with him the things I am making from wood in my workshop. We are both agreed that the time we find that we now have produces better outcomes than would previously have been the case when ‘normal’ time pressures would have been applicable.
Also, and very importantly, I am able to spend time with the most important person to me – my wife - and we both agree that we relish being able to pursue hobbies and pastimes independently but share our experiences and successes. We have also learned to optimise the give and take which characterises successful human relationships (she will never get me to like ‘Gogglebox’ and she will probably never make Classic FM her first choice on the kitchen radio when we cook together). However, I do believe that the growth in our mutual understanding, collaboration and compromise will make our relationship even fuller by building on the years of our marriage thus far. Long term relationships can still be enriched if you make the effort.
“Well”, I hear you say “all very wistful, try being locked down with three kids under ten and a broken heating boiler with no plumber on call”. You would be right. I am fortunate, so far at least. However, I do think that there may be something to learn from these experiences. How about:
Remember to nurture the things you create – developing people and work relationships will not be successful without the care they need in the longer term to become established.
Spend time on the important things – the things that will still be there after the cares and concerns of today have become history.
Putting your best effort in gets the best results out – plan, prepare and execute with equal care and passion and your results will just get better. As they do so, your pleasure and pride in them will grow, too.
Remember that being honest and delivering on your promises has the result of building trust and it is trust that is the cornerstone of lasting relationships.
If you take time, consider the options and make informed decisions about what you do - there is a likelihood that what you do will look better and last longer.
Our best work is the work we plan, reflect on and try to perfect. Don’t fear mistakes, admit to them and learn from them.
“Does this apply to negotiating?” I hear you say. It sure does – think about it.
See you on the other side. Stay safe and well.
About the author:
My background is human resource consulting, I am a former KPMG consulting partner and head of global HR development with the firm. I began my interest in negotiating as an industrial relations specialist in the early part of my career and have spent many hours with trade union representatives practising what I now preach! I am also a coach and use these skills in my work with Scotwork’s clients.