Going Off Piste
Having just returned from a perfect long weekend skiing in the Italian Alps, I am ruminating on what made the trip so special and enjoyable. Essentially it all comes down to what I believe is the core of everything I teach in seminars and lectures – communication.
I went with five good friends whom I have known for many years and we have all been away together many times. Over years of living in close quarters in foreign lands, we have developed an innate shorthand that makes communication easier. Also, we have all built up a tolerance for each other’s personal idiosyncrasies. We tend to focus on the good things, while dealing with our mates’ fads and foibles via that time-honoured psychological male-bonding technique known as ‘taking the piss’, or in this case, taking the piste.
Now, this may seem simplistic, but I believe there is an art to achieving and maintaining a positive group dynamic. Dealing effectively with groups of people is a skill that is of enormous value in both our business and personal lives. But it can also be very challenging — because individuals tend to have their own ideas about groups and how they relate to them and, in practice, not all of those ideas work. Some, in fact, are downright misguided.
In all walks of life, there's a profound difference between a set of individuals and a cohesive group. That why, when individual members are unconscious of the needs of the group, the group is invariably weaker than the sum of the individual members' capabilities. In essence, in family, friendship or business, the key components are the same.
Listen, understand and accept the needs of others. In this way you can make any relationship work.
Otherwise, it’s all downhill.