"We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers." — Martin Luther King Jr.
The importance of relationship
The primary focus in our corporations is on greater productivity and market success. This is understandable, but in the pursuit of success and profit we often lose connection with one another. We become roles rather than people, positions in a power hierarchy rather than equals in a community. This absence of connection can lead to misunderstanding, resentment, isolation, even to anger, frustration and blame. As a result of such negative emotional arousal our ability to be engaged, focused and creative is at risk. Nurturing human connection is not a "soft skill": it is hardcore, and arguably the most vital requirement for the health, agility and longevity of any organisation.
Why this workshop?
Over the past several years I have turned my attention away from the system, and away also from the individual. Instead I concentrate on the space that lies between two people, the small, invisible space that we barely pay attention to. It's not the individual that is the smallest unit in the corporate system, or indeed any social system. The smallest unit, the atom perhaps, is the relationship between any two people. It is on this that we can build a healthy body, a sharp mind, a well-functioning, integrated whole. A relationship is to a social system as a synapse is to the brain: a junction between two nerve cells, consisting of a minute gap across which impulses pass by diffusion of a neurotransmitter.
The spark of change
Being in right relation with another means to be in balance, each giving and receiving according to ability and need. And it means staying sensitive to the ever-changing dynamics, and adapting accordingly. Relationship is never static, always alive, usually in flux, and often surprising.
If we consider the employee population of a given company as a holistic system, then when just one connection is broken the whole system is at risk. So in working to heal one relationship, we'll eliminate the poison in that particular interaction, and prevent propagation of negativity. We'll see kindness replace rightness, listening replace talking, humour replace indignation, and other replace self.
"At the same time, you have to find the right distance between people. Too close, and they overwhelm you, too far and they abandon you. How to hold them in the right relation?" — Hanif Kureishi
This one-day session will explore relationship from a variety of perspectives, drawing on a diverse range of ideas including those found in toltic wisdom, the human givens, the writing of John Gottman, Janet Lansbury, Arthur Deikman, bell hooks and others, scripture, storytelling, the AA twelve-step program, Naikan, and improvisation. The workshop is wholly interactive, utilising dialog, art, theatre and (circumstances allowing) somatic methods.
By the end of the day you'll be able to assess your relationships in new ways, and have practical methods for actively improving how you interact with others.
"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." — Viktor Frankl
Although the workshop focuses on relationships in the workplace, inevitably our other, more personal relationships will be drawn into the conversation. Work is not separate from life, only a part of life. And everything connects.
I have been facilitating groups since the late 1980s. Starting with school leavers on government training-for-work programs my facilitation career has encountered such diverse groups as the long-term unemployed, newly arrived refugees, young people on probation, teenagers excluded from schools, pensioners, middle managers, software developers, lawyers, user researchers, church staff and volunteers, and city development groups. My style of facilitation is emergent, exploratory and somatic.
Image from European Pharmaceutical Review
Content: Tobias Mayer, 2016-2021
Last updated: 27/09/2022