Everyone experiences difficult seasons in life. Although storms come to our lives in many different forms including health problems, death of a loved one, divorce or job loss, one thing is certain: it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get through the stormy seasons in life alone. We need family and friends who “have our backs.” Unfortunately, as this thoughtful article that recently appeared in USA Today suggests, true friendship may be dying.
In a video interview I filmed for the Leader to Leader Institute’s Leadership Dialogues website, I speak with leadership experts Mark Thompson and Bonita Buell-Thompson about what I learned from my wife Katie’s successful battles with breast and advanced ovarian cancer. You can read about it and watch the video at this link.
The lesson I learned is about the importance of connection and relationships. It applies to organizations as much as it does to individuals and families. When difficult seasons arrive, an organization’s culture often makes a difference to whether the organization survives or doesn’t. Dog-eat-dog or cultures that are indifferent to people and relationships often spiral down into relational isolation, anxiety, distrust, blame and finger pointing. On the other hand, Connection Cultures that value human beings and relationships tend to pull together and work through the challenges.
My question for you is, who has your back in life and at work? Are you intentional about taking the time to build strong relationships with individuals who you trust and who trust you? If you lead an organization, do you invest time to develop relationship excellence in your organization?