Improve your relationships, build trust and communicate better

Improve your relationships, build trust and communicate better

Organisational Success Podcast

The quality of our relationships defines our life and work. Our relationships with others depend and develop on trust and good communication. Communication failures or poor communication lie at the heart of many problems in our organisations today. In this podcast David talks with Professor Guy Lubitsh, co-author of the new book Connect: Resolve conflict, improve communication, strengthen relationships. 

Connect: The book – Building better relationships

In this book Guy and his sister Tami explore the nature of relationships and the critical role communications play in really connecting with people at a fundamental level and building trusting relationships.

Build better relationships
Build better relationships


Professor Guy Lubtish

Professor Guy Lubtish is a organisational psychologist chartered and Professor of leadership and organisational change at Ashridge Executive Education/Hult International Business School. 

Guy Lubitsh - relationships
Guy Lubitsh

Dr. Tami Lubitsh-White

Dr. Tami Lubitsh-White is a clincal psychologist and therapist practising in Alaska.

Tami Lubitsh-White

Transcript – Building better relationships at work

– Hi and welcome back. Today we’re with Guy Lubitsh, who’s written with his sister, which is very interesting. So this is Dr. Guy Lubitsh, with his sister, a really interesting book called “Connect” and I’m really interested and really looking forward to having a chat about you about some of the principles in the book, which I found absolutely fascinating. So welcome. Can you just introduce yourself give us a little bit more about your background what you do and what kind of prompted you writing this book.

– Right. So thank you, David. It’s great to be here and thank you for the opportunity. I’m a tutor in a business school and also a coach. Been there now over 20 years in this area of organizational development change and leadership. And three years ago, I’ve decided together with my sister that it was time to share our combined experience. She’s a psychologist in the US, a clinical psychologist so we decided to combine our interest in individuals in a clinical setting and my organizational experience and the combined 50 years of our joint professional work is to reflect on relationships and connections. In terms of what prompts us, we’ve both realized that both in a clinical setting and also in organizational setting, what counts most is relationships. So when you talk to leaders they’re less worried about technical issues, they’re more concerned about how do I get on with my boss. How I resolve an issue with a complicated complex colleague. How do I set collaboration across organizational boundaries and such. So it’s mainly down to relationships. Also in a clinical setting as well, the chemistry between the therapist and the patient, client is key for success. And also we know from studies in the US that the number one derailment of executives is the issue of forming relationships. So executives, normally if they derail it won’t be around technical issues. It will be around their EQ their emotional intelligence their ability to form relationships their, the self-awareness ability to read the room and so on. Those are the issues usually that derail executives and that has a massive organizational cost and individual cost. And of course, finally we wrote it before COVID and the loneliness was very high at the workplace even then. The numbers were 68% of loneliness and so very high. Of course now in COVID during COVID, it’s become even higher. So it is the time to connect. So it felt timely.

– Yes, it is. And it always amuses me in organizations because they call them soft skills and yet from an executive’s point of view and an organizational point of view, relationships seem to be the hardest thing to get right here, which is, yeah. There’s so much in this book. We’re not going in such a short space of time to be able to kind of do more than cover some of the main concepts and ideas for improving relationships. But before we delve into the book a bit more can you just talk a little bit about connections between the quality of interpersonal relationships and things like wellbeing, success and performance, work engagement and things like that?

– Right so the Gallup is doing a yearly survey and it’s shows with no question it’s very very clear the relationships there between business performance, productivity and relationships at work. So they look at 190 countries, 40 sectors, range of organizations and the data is very clear that if you look after employees, if you have strong connections, relationships at work, it will impact bottom line profitability and customer satisfaction. We also know that companies like Google and Netflix put a real effort in this area, in particular in terms of trust. So Google gives 20% of time for employees to work on innovation projects, that sends a signal of trust and they actually can, if they look at their innovation pipeline, a lot of it is down to those 20% that employees have the choice on what to work on. In Netflix you’re also given a lot of freedom. And the idea is that you act in the interest of Netflix. Management does not micromanage. It leaves employees to make choices, make decisions about the times, trust them to do that. And that of course shows in their staff survey and productivity results and innovation. One great example that I really like Much recently is the comparison between Costco and Walmart, right? So Costco is known as being better than Walmart in terms of healthcare benefits, better pay, a better culture in terms of treating employees and thinking about relationships and. Walmart as we know is less good at that to say the least, poor pay, no benefits and so on. And over a year, 15, 20 years, you will see that Costco beat Walmart on every measure in terms of profitability, customer satisfaction, so on. So I think we have evidence for that.

– Yes, I think it makes a lot of difference and certainly things like building trust in organizations between leaders and what we call that Lomax leader member exchange and between coworkers has a significant impact on things like citizenship behaviors, these kind of, the kinds of activities that people engage in on an a voluntary service in order to help the organization as well and trust is coming out as certainly across, right across the band of research that we’re seeing. Trust is coming out as a key attribute in any organization.

– Absolutely, absolutely.

– And I think relationships underpin that, we can only trust through a relationship.

– Yeah, sure, sure. I absolutely agree and the book supports that. And it’s an important piece. And interestingly, it’s very strange for me I think leaders, still ignore this at times, the importance of trust, maybe we’ll come onto that later.

– Well, I think we will right now actually, because one of the things that you mentioned in the book is the tyranny of the tangible and what it is that executives and organizations tend to focus on and what they kind of forget. So can you just talk us through this idea of the tyranny of the tangible and how it relates to kind of relationships in work?

– Right. So my experience of leaders is that particularly I think during COVID at the moment is that it’s easier to look at KPIs and measurement. So as a leader manager is a more tangible, easier, less hustle to look at a spreadsheet to focus on KPIs and then avoid perhaps a conversation about how we feel at the moment. The fact that our business model perhaps is changing our strategy is not clear to us. There’s a lot of emotional, difficult strategic business issues that are highly emotional. They are intangible, but management at times prefers to focus on what they can see rather than delve into the messiness of relationships and so on. So this is a… And we call it the tyranny of tangible, ’cause it is a tyranny and what happens is it stops, honest conversations I feel at times on how we feel, what should we do, how can we build that trust forever. How can we create a better environment? And also just to bring it more to life, I think sometimes senior management teams are very capable and smart and bright, confuse sending an email with communication. Of course, email is only a starter. What you do need is to engage people with their emotions, with their whole self and not just drop a line and expect people to follow or engage. That’s not inspiring enough

– Yes, yeah and I think it’s this, focus on the figures, the numbers, particularly on profitability and forgetting about the human beings that are making this thing possible. And John Adair years ago, right in the sixties was talking about this difference between task and process and this idea of the three interconnecting parts of task, the individual and the team, and that those, the relationships between the individual and the team and the relationships between people and the relationships they have with themselves, it’s a bit like an iceberg tend to be below the surface and tend therefore to get forgotten whilst most of the focus is on the stuff that’s above the line, that’s above the water. And yet it’s the individuals and the teams and the relationships between those that actually supports the doing of the task.

– Exactly. Exactly. Well, that’s the fuel, isn’t it? That’s the fuel. That’s what really, makes people connected willing to walk the extra mile. It’s around the, underneath the surface that will making it work and the tendencies is, yeah, as you were saying, is to look at on the surface and avoid, discussions that may make you feel also more vulnerable when you’re armed with data and spreadsheets you feel more secure, the moment we delve, as you were saying under the surface, we go beneath the surface, we go into the unknown and the messiness of emotions and we have to make ourself more vulnerable. We have to admit that we don’t know everything. We have to acknowledge our own feelings and that’s a different story. That’s different ballgames

– That starts to challenge our view of ourselves as a leader this idea that we know everything and that we need to know everything as a leader our idea of status and a whole series of other things that delving into those kinds of dark recesses kind of sorta. So what kinds of things stop us from connecting and forming, trusting relationships, do you think?

– Right. So we already touched on it, but what I would add is that when we are talking about relationships, there’s a fine line between the work and the personal. And walking that boundary is tricky. So I think that’s one difficulty, that’s tough. And I’m also wondering, I don’t know what’s your view, David the remote working as well has made it, I think very or more difficult to form relationships. We hear managers saying it’s more difficult to seek help. When we are in an office environment, you can turn to a colleague and say how do I do that? Or you can seek, help more easily. People say that even calling IT or emailing IT, they feel embarrassed. And I’m sure let alone other issues that I’m concerned with. So I will be lonelier and sometimes people don’t have the skills as well to seek help. And also the water cooler conversations, those informal conversations, right? It is such an important aspect of work. We miss on those. We don’t have that informal knowing who’s in who’s out, what’s going on. And some of the gossip, helpful gossip of what’s happening. We just cut off that. So I think that’s gets in the way too. Makes it more difficult for us.

– Yeah, I think that’s quite a critical issue. It’s all of those informal conversations, but the relationship building things that allow people to have voice within an organization and what we call employee voice, that idea people are noticing problems, will speak up, feel that they can speak up whereas in lots of formal situations they don’t feel like they can, or they don’t feel that they want to be vulnerable by doing that by kind of putting their head above the parapet. And I think that causes all sorts of problems.

– Exactly. And if I may add another point from colleague John Higgins wrote the book “Speaking Truth to Power,” they’ve done research John and Megan, and they found out that managers actually scarier than they think. So managers are not aware that they may feel or believe that they are accessible, very open and people are very happy to talk to them. But in reality, people are actually are concerned about hierarchy are finding it difficult to form those relationships. So, I mean, that’s another big area.

– Yes. Yeah. Particularly when a manager has power over kind of hiring you, firing you, promoting you and things like that, and managers and leaders tend to forget this. I do remember a situation where I was in a large organization. We’d done 360 degree feedback for all of the top team. And there was one of the managers who was feared by everybody. And it was my job to go and give him feedback about what everybody else thought about him. And he said, “What I want is I want a report. “I want to read the report, “and then we can have a conversation.” I said, “Yeah, sure fine.” So I gave him the report. And then when we sat down finally to read it, he pushed the report back across the desk at me and said “I wouldn’t work for somebody like that.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “It must be wrong.” I said, “Okay, right. Is that where we’re starting?” So, and it’s that yeah. There’s that differential between how we perceive ourselves as managers and leaders and how others perceive us. And there was an interesting and I was I’m trying to think what it was in now. I was reading something this last week. And that basically what they were saying was, communication is on the terms of the listener full stop.

– Right. Right.

– It’s not from your terms it’s their terms. Is that background the way that they see things, if we can’t move through that, then we’ve got a problem which I thought was a really insightful kind of well idea really.

– Yeah. Well, wonderful. We’ll talk more about it. I’m curious to develop that notion and it’s a good point and I love your story. Yeah. We come across over the years, similar anecdotes if you know what I mean.

– But yeah. So in the book you talk about four main connector types. Do you just want to talk us through what they are?

– So four connector types that represent different styles energies and motivations. So we’ve got a director style, which is around getting things done and keeping things on track. Facilitator style which is about harmony and working with others and ensuring commitment to values. We’ve got the specialists which this is about quality and data and the innovator, which is around renewing the group with new ideas. Interestingly, writing the book, Tommy is an innovator and I’m a combination of facilitator and director. And that was very difficult ’cause I was very keen to finish the chapters on time. The deadline with the publisher and Tammy will always have new ideas and he drove us mad. And we write about it in the book on how we had to overcome those are siblings relationship but also got different connector types as well. The good thing about it, if you manage to hold the difference then you have a wonderful product of the combo of the innovator with great ideas, the director facilitator who helps get things done and the harmony that comes with. And I think that’s key to types to connect types that we try and get the most out of a group or different people.

– So by holding the difference you mean respecting the difference between us in terms of the connector types.

– Exactly. So respecting not necessarily agreeing, but respecting, willing to listen. And I had to bite my tongue good times and Tommy’s also the older sister. So I had to be pushed around too. That that was in play as well. But I had to be aware of my connector type, but at the same time to be mindful of it and open up to the what the innovator has to say, because they have great ideas and directors is also, want to close very quickly. So I need to, I had to step back at least and open up respect the ideas, explore them, with Tammy and then vice versa. She had to respect that there were deadlines and so on. There was that kind of movement and and flex between each other. But I have experienced the power of it absolutely. When it works. And when you work across those differences, the product, the final product is better and you get the most of everyone, but not easy, not easy to do.

– Now it strikes me that there’s kind of two things in this to do with the connectors. One is understanding other people’s, being able to categorize people and understanding other people’s connector types. But the other side is that self-awareness of my own connector type and the impact of that is in the way that I go about doing things.

– Absolutely and you’ve summarized that. That’s what it’s all about. Understanding ourselves and how it impacts others. This is key for effective communication connections. It’s the cornerstone for us. Those two elements.

– Which is one of the issues, going back to the conversation that we’re having about leaders, this whole idea of self-awareness and understanding the impact that we’re having, quite often is maybe not often most in their minds, sorry to say.

– No, no. And what we’ve been seeing with COVID as well is leaders perhaps not aware of the stress that they’re carrying as well. So a director may not be realizing the pressure that they’re putting on others as a leader managers, the stress that constant tasks focus on task, getting things done can cause mental health issues, burnout to others. They may not be aware of that. Equally being a facilitator can cause pressure by not making decisions and being too pleasing. That can be pressure, stress for the team. And as I said they’re always strong innovator we’re doing this work, yesterday with a group with a strong leader, who is an innovator, not aware at times of the pressure, new ideas, especially when he’s on holiday. When he’s back everyone is embracing themselves. A flurry of new ideas not realizing the pressure, the stress it will cause.

– Yeah and also the thing that you said right at the start of that was this not understanding that the pressure that the leader themselves is under and the stress that the leader themselves is under and how that’s creating problems as well. And there was a survey that I was reading recently about burnout and the number of people with burnout that isn’t diagnosed, that they don’t even recognize it themselves is epidemic.

– Yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s probably the other virus, isn’t it? That we’re seeing in the workplace the burnout and stress we’re probably now having, post pandemic working towards this new reality or normal, whatever that is. I think we will need to work through that. There’ll be lots of issues around stress burnout and also lack of routine. Millions lost their daily routine by working from home all the rest. And so there are massive mental health issues that are waiting for us and it’s not going to be easy. Yeah that’s work that we will as OD professionals, we will need to attempt to I think with leaders in the coming months or so.

– Yeah. I’m starting to see a lot more research coming through on a daily basis around stress and burnout as a result of COVID. There’s quite a few researchers have kind of realized and got onto this and there’s some really useful research coming out of that. Can we just go back to the connector types for a second? Where did they come from and what are they based on?

– Right. So Tammy and I looked at the best of personality tests that we’ve come across, both in a clinical setting and organizational setting. And we’ve put a questionnaire that is, we believe is easier to use. It takes five, 10 minutes to do. We relied also on our own observations. And we asked the Ashridge test unit to help us put together. We used 500 responses, did all the reliability and validity that is around testing. But the key in here was we want to introduce something that is a valid, reliable and easy to use. The language of it will be kind of helpful and applied. That was on our minds.

– Yeah, it certainly does that. And it’s a very readable book. In the book you talk about kind of five ways that we tend to sabotage our connections with other people. And I particularly liked that section. Can you just talk us through some of the ways that we sabotage our relationships usually unknowingly?

– Sure. So we it’s mainly fears. So a fear that we may be wrong, fear that we may not be liked, fears that we don’t have all the data, for example. So fears is a big part of it. Also there is a large amount of research on that our brains make cognitive errors. I will not go into all of that but clearly we were not as rational as we think in how we view the world. So there are many cognitive errors that get in the way and sabotage relationship. We also assume that we are alike. So we think that somebody will be like us and that’s also a big mistake. And we also attribute if we are late, we put it down to circumstances, but if somebody’s other, someone else is what late, we attribute it to their personality. So that’s another difficulty that gets in the way. We base decisions on very limited information. And then that’s a concern and we get stuck. I talked about the connector types. We have our ways and habits of doing things and those can be very helpful and useful bring us success but they can also completely derail us. Get us into very bad places and also we make mistakes for sticking to our patterns.

– Yes. Yeah. And quite often they end up sabotaging the actual relationship. And that awareness of what’s going on and how that’s working can really help to, well the word you use is resolve. In fact, you have a resolve model. Could you just give a quick overview of the resolve model?

– There resolve model is something we’ve designed based on our own experience of high stakes negotiations or relationships and the are seven tools that you can use if you are in one. It started with the R, which is realize reality, realize reality and I think in this present context, virtual remote working, it’s very easy to get lost and to feel that people may not be interested in our views. That this person doesn’t want to collaborate. We call that in the book, we go on a virtual tour, we make up a story. And I think realizing what is real is very important. So that’s one powerful tool. The other one is establishing boundaries, the E. Establishing boundaries is very key. What are red lines? What we will do or not do. We notice in COVID people working long hours, maybe worried about their jobs but we would still encourage people to put red lines and boundaries to what they do. Important key to any relationship with anyone. And seek support. Interestingly, very talented people, high performing individuals don’t know how to seek help. I’ve seen that over the years. I don’t know what’s your experience, David, but it’s been something we’ve come across in our work over the years. When in trouble, the tendency is even to go more deeper into self where really what you need is to seek support. Have somebody on your side to discuss whether it’s a mentor supervisor, a buddy very key to give you perspective to, support you, maybe challenge you as well but to have somebody and to seek support. So that’s the third tool and they’re always about owning your parts. So we’ve found out that in those tough negotiations, difficult relationship, we don’t do enough of owning what we’ve done. So saying, this occasion I was wrong, I should have said that or I made this mistake, owning your part, in the relationship can really free up the connection, the relationship, change the dynamics and so on. So owning your part is very important area tool to use listening and which we’ve mentioned, listening how important that’s the L and validating is the V validate Oprah Winfrey. I don’t know if it’s a good name to use at the moment, but Opera talks after doing 30,000 interviews, along the years she says that the number one thing that people want is validation, validation of emotions and so on. That much just our experience as well. So validating the other person doesn’t cost us anything. It’s a very helpful thing to move a relationship that is stuck or help it get unstuck. So validating emotions and also in a way, the evolve which is moving to the next step, knowing when you actually need to move on to the next level.

– Yes. Yeah, yeah. It’s a really useful model and there’s a couple of things in there I’ll just pull out before we can move on. That idea about seeking help. I think there’s that’s been something I’ve been particularly bad at but I think a lot of people do. And I think there’s this idea, I think some of it may be gender based and there’s some evidence for that. There’s been quite a lot of research showing that men particularly a very bad at asking for help particularly when they’re in emotional trouble. They feel it’s a sign of weakness. And given that the majority of leaders tend to be male, unfortunately that becomes a bit of a problem. And the idea of validating the other and quite often that validation is actually through the previous letter which is listening and by active listening and that’s important as well. Yeah, I love the model. I think it’s great. I’m just gonna skip on a little bit now to one of the other chapters, chapter seven. The chapter about seven ways for creating positive connections. And there’s a couple of things I would like to look at if I may, the first is, in the section about commitment and level of value, there’s an interesting exercise for determining how valuable a relationship is. So what recommendations do you have, for working out the value of a relationship given as you state earlier, that we’re apt to jump to conclusions rather quickly and many of those conclusions about others tend to be biased.

– So that’s a great question and it is problematic. Absolutely agree. So I think what we should do is learn our biases, so be mindful of the judgments we make and the patterns we get into around race, around gender all those really be careful and study those and be mindful of those and then challenge ourselves on those assumptions. And the other thing we could do is ask others as well. So not just rely on our own perception, which can be wrong, mostly is wrong in many cases. So asking others for feedback on another person with the likes and just get another perspective is very helpful.

– Great. You’ve got a really nice model for rebuilding broken trust. And this is one of the issues quite often, we end up with broken trust either because the other person’s broken the trust or we’ve done that by some action or other. What you’ve called the four A models, the four A model. Do you just want to give us a kind of a quick overview of that model? I think it’s really useful.

– So the first step is to acknowledge if trust is broken is you cannot move on unless you fully acknowledge what has happened and that’s key. And after you do that, you need to apologize. And that’s hard for us too, because when I talk about apologizing is a whole heartedly apologize not half way, like saying it’s my fault and you did that.

– It’s your fault.

– It’s your fault. I mean like a genuine apology that, connects with the other person’s feelings and genuinely acknowledges what has happened so apologize is the second part. And then the third part, which I think is so important we usually miss on that is amend. So not stop at the apology, but show with actions that you are interesting, in amending do things in that direction so the other person can see in a direct tangible way that you mean changing behaviors, that you understand and that you’re acting on it. And of course that builds to if you get there, which is not easy again is to build even an action plan with that person that says in the future they just think if we are in a similar situation what would we do? How would they, agree something around that?

– It’s really nice bottle. I like it a lot. What happens if it’s the person who’s broken the trust? What do you the suggest there?

– So it is difficult. It’s very difficult, but I think the key here is to show willingness to flex. So if you hear an apology or an acknowledgement not to stay stuck, but to listen to that and be flexible enough to shift your position and also take part in the amending. So if the people, apologize and acknowledge and move into some amendments and taking actions to correct and to change, the worst thing is if you don’t join, if you stay stuck in your hurt and your position rather than see the shift, encourage the shift and work with it, not easy, not easy. Trust is one of the most difficult things. Relationships it’s very, can be very hard but I would definitely from experience, I would say it’s very important to learn and to notice if somebody else is willing to join in not to leave them too long and work on it together.

– Yes. Yeah. Refrain from blaming and one of the other things that I think fits in here is that there’s been quite a lot of research around how we view mistakes. If it’s something that we’ve done, were significantly more likely to view it as a mistake if it was the wrong thing to do whereas if somebody else does it, we make this assumption that it was done on purpose. And there was a whole stream of really interesting, so my background’s, years and years ago as a police and I was a traffic officer. And I kinda saw a whole stream of research around what happens in road rage incidents which is just around this. So if we make a mistake on the road like we’re pushing in front of somebody or we’re going too fast and we end up breaking too fast and we kinda put our hand up and we were quite likely to ascribe it as being a mistake. Whereas if somebody else does it, we make this assumption that they’re an idiot and they’ve done it on purpose.

– Right. Right. Absolutely. That’s part of the complication, the messiness of human relationships. Absolutely totally agree.

– And I think it’s being aware of that when it’s other people that have broken the trust it may have just been a mistake. They may have done something in error. So there’s so much in this book and whilst it’s not a huge tone it’s actually a really easy read. It’s packed with useful and very practical tools for developing quality relationships. And we can only scratch the surface of such a book in an interview. So I’m going to skip the sections on how to connect across cultures and over generations which are really useful to the section about connecting in a digital age because that’s kind of a prescient thing at the moment. Given the current COVID pandemic has bounced just about every business organization, student and individual into the digital era in a very short space of time. How does this rapid switch to digital change the process of maintaining and kind of developing, trusting relationships? What advice would you give to people who want to really connect in these kind of online times. Because I don’t think it’s gonna go away anytime soon.

– So COVID-19, has opened up a new conversation I think around connection. We are being vaccinated because we want to connect, right? And we’re probably learning that it’s been more valuable than we realize that, hugs, face to face communication is critical for our livelihoods, for mental health, lots of things. So I’m enjoying the fact that there is a new conversation around connection and relationships. I think it’s very important. And in terms of what to do, a couple of ideas, one is to send material in advance. So I think we should try and do more of that. So the virtual conversation is kept to a minimum like today you send me some things to look at before and we leave the virtual time to real conversation and connection. The other thing we know in a virtual environment that emotions can be amplified. So making a mistake or feeling anxious in a virtual world will be amplified. So regulating emotions, breathing and doing all those good things. So we can come across in a clear way is very, very important. And we asked people to open cameras. I think that’s helpful. At least at the start, you can at least see faces and all the rest of it. And also pick up the phone. I think we are missing the possibility of not doing a Zoom or just calling someone and say, Oh, how did that go? What did you feel with that meeting? Or I wanted to ask you about this. So not to give up to the Zoom over fatigue, fight, Zoom. Don’t fight it don’t let it dominate you and pick up a phone, pick up the phone, connect, don’t leave relationships difficult conversations just to dismiss them. We need to do other things to stay in connection.

– Yeah. I think that’s really good advice. And in fact, there’s a guy who owns a company that I know locally here, and I was talking to him the other day. What he started doing is he just picks up the phone. He is phoning all of the remote employees. He’s just having a conversation. And it’s just, he’s just saying, I’m just phoning this isn’t about work. I don’t want to talk about work. I just wanna know how you’re doing. How it’s going for you. And is there anything that we can do to make this easier? And he’s saying that he’s learning so much about the people that are working for him and that it’s what that’s kind of developing is a real a stronger bond between them.

– So that’s a fabulous example there. It just, for me summarizes a lot of what the book is about. This act of showing interest in the whole person is superb and so important. And in the Zoom we lost a bit of the chit-chat, right? It’s very transactional. So asking somebody how they are on the phone. So that would be another tip, I would strongly agree. It’s a great idea to call, to also ask about feelings and how people are doing fantastic habits.

– And in fact, I’ve just realized something as you were talking there, that we do lose this kind of chit chat that goes on and the water cooler moment that you were talking about. I was involved in a study many many years ago around an organization that had a couple of set tea and coffee times throughout the day. So there were a series of these and you could attend to any of them just to meet up with other people. And one of the things that we found was that it’s the stories that make a difference. We already know that our brains are kind of pre-programmed for stories and it’s just enabling those stories to come out. And it can be stories, not about work but other things that then become the connectors. We tend to connect through stories which is why the news, for example isn’t just a bullet point of the news that’s happened today. They send some poor hack out into the rain and the dark in order to tell a story because we connect through stories. And I think it’s one of the things that I teach the lecturers at the university is that we miss out a lot, if we don’t, if we’re not engaging in their stories and they’re not engaging in our stories.

– Absolutely. Yeah.

– So I’m gonna ask a really horrible question here. This is a really horrible thing to do says somebody who’s written a book. But if there are just three things that people can start doing right now to develop better relationships, I’m asking you to summarize the whole book into three things but what would they be?

– So I would start with defining what is it that I need to do in terms of ratio. And that will differ between the visual. Some people need to speak up, you can be more assertive with others. Some people need to listen more. Some people need to show more vulnerability, we talked about that earlier. So defining what is it for you that you need to do more often. I think that will help. And the second thing is to take baby steps is to try something from the book, something from this, from your learning edge or your development, try out a couple of things and see the impact of that. So don’t leave it theoretical, have a go at something and also have a friend that will help you. So a buddy that can give you feedback and support you on that process, because it’s not easy when we are embarking on this journey of trying to change our behaviors, transform our relationships, we need feedback.

– Yes, most definitely. And the more honest, the better.

– Absolutely. Absolutely.

– Yeah. Brilliant. That’s really good. Thank you. So onto the last question really, one stage in the book where you’re discussing the five ways we sabotage our connections to others, you state that understanding others is a powerful tool but also a tall order. So my question is this, now there’s an awful lot in the book and the fascinating research and background to human interaction, the types of people communicators, the elements of resolve, the tools or techniques. Now people are busy and it strikes me that what is in this book is more than just knowledge. It’s kind of a set of attitudes, values and skills that need to be developed over time and I just wondered what advice you have for people about how to use what’s in the book in order to develop into a more confident and competent connector.

– So I will… The book has three parts. The first part is about connector types and assessing your relationship, the quality of your relationship and connectivity. So if you are interested in improving your self awareness and understanding how others behave and how they connect, the first part is really helpful to dive into and work through it. If you are in a high stakes situation, and stuck feeling concerned, you can use the second part which is the resolve model and how to create environments of trust around you. So you can use part two. And part three is around cultures, communicating across ages. I recently, I have a teenager here at home. So I dipped into the communicating across ages to try and resolve something between us. It’s still a work in progress. Hopefully we will get through it.

– Good luck.

– Absolutely and also there’s a chapter on digital working in a digital world which we’ve touched on so different parts, you can dip into particular sections depending on your needs.

– Yeah so basically what you’re saying is find the area that’s most pressing for you at the moment and start there and then build out from there. That’s excellent. Thank you. Just as you came on, I noticed so your book’s been shortlisted for a couple of awards. Do you just want to tell us what they are?

– Right. So we’re very proud that the book has been shortlisted for the chartered management Institute book award of the year. And there’s also another award. It’s the business book awards and we’ve been shortlisted for both. So that’s been recent. Joy for my dad, he is very pleased.

– Hey, well, well-deserved as well it’s a really good book. So thank you so much Guy. If people want to connect with you, what are the best ways of doing so?

– So best way is through LinkedIn. And I would love to hear any comments, suggestions feedback, I’m on LinkedIn, Guy Lubitsch is obviously my name and I would love to hear from anyone who is interested to discuss and share more on this topic.

– Fantastic. Thank you Guy. What I’ll do is in the show notes is I’ll put all the links I’ll put a link to the book, I’ll put a link to your LinkedIn profile and things like that. That’s brilliant. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page