Do One Thing

A few years ago, a transition occurred in my life.  They happen. Life is full of transitions.  It was a catalyst for a life change for me that I will never regret.  God took a normal  evil and produces good for me and others every day.  Life is good.  Friend and family are wonderful.  There are more transitions ahead.

How did friends handle this moment of transition?Image

One asked me, “Are you okay?”  But, he was unprepared to follow through and doesn’t return phone calls.

One asked me, “How can I help?”  And, encourages regularly and  faithfully.

One asked me, “What happened?”  But only wanted gossip.

One looked at me told me to get back and refuses my phone calls.

One denied all knowledge and deferred to others.

One listened and only responds at whim.

One thanked me for my service and faithfulness and expressed genuine regret.

One listened and asked for money from me for their business and offered no support.

One listened and asked me to join their multi-level marketing organization.

One looked at me, accused me, threatened me, and looked away.

One  listened, extended compassion, extended support, and continues to followup.

One listened, connected me with meaningful service alongside them, and continues.

One spoke at me and refused to raise head or eye to make contact.

One never did anything.

One remains silent, not knowing what to say, but staying faithful in love and friendship.

It is interesting how people treat you in moments of change.  All of these were “friends”, a few still are.

In all these cases, there is really more than one that responded this way.

As a friend, how do you respond?  How do you support others?  What is your motivation?

I’ve supported many transitions in organizations and families over 3 decades of management and community service.  Some were my transition, some were transitions of others.  Truthfully, these responses are typical in each transition.  People like change and transition on their terms and their timing.  People act all sorts of weird ways when they don’t understand or have demanding motivations driving them.  They  are normal ways people respond to change.

Each of these responses comes from either a motivation of self preservation, greed, control, power, loyalty, gratefulness, disinterest, encouragement, or compassion.

Each of these represents a person, to whom  many hours and years of service and support and encouragement were extended and prior to the transition called me, “Friend”.  How do you support your friends in transitions?

How should I respond to others in transition?

The golden rule still applies.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Though people may treat you many different ways, choose how you will treat others, now.  Who in your sphere of influence has gone through a transition and could use a helping word or action to move forward?  Don’t let the machinations of selfish desire dictate who you will be.  Be the best of responders.  Overcome normal evil with good.

Why do I say, “Normal evil?”  Well, many times we categorize transition or change as something bad.  It is not bad.  It just is what it is.  Without transition and change, we would stay the same.  BORING!  You can always put good interpretation or bad interpretation on a situation.  You can always choose to accent the good or the bad.  Choose.

Don’t be silent.  People need to hear your voice and see you.  How wonderful it was one day, when visiting a company to have one of those from a transition run up, hug me, and say how much they missed me.  Yes, that is a grown adult response.  A face to face handshake is powerful.  A card in the mail is marvelous.  An email of concern and encouragement is powerful.  Silence communicates fear and distrust.  Make a noise.

Don’t go away after you do one thing.  How lonely you must be to only value a person when you see them in your space every day.  That is not friendship, but convenience.

How should I respond to my transitions?

Close the Book: Today, I am closing the book on one particular series of events.  I am putting it in my past.  It has taken many months of processing and consideration.  The people involved are important to me.  They are more important than any event.  Every day I have risen to the day, accepted new challenges, faced demons of disloyalty and dishonesty, and enjoyed company of compassion and concern.  Today, I bury the history and have a memorial service.  I’ll light a candle, raise a toast to blessing and health, and move on with life, love, and laughter.  Someday, you need to grieve and go on.  Don’t live in the past.

Celebrate: Today, I celebrate the freshness of friendships that encourage, support, listen, and walk alongside.  There are some great people in the world, who understand and value friendship.   There are some not so great people in the world, who only understand what they can get out of you for the moment.  Be one of the greats in the face of the not so greats.  Don’t let them get you down.  There is too much of life to enjoy.

The Road to Human Loyalty- A Forever Journey

“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head.” Mark Twain

Greatness finds ways to be loyal and extract loyalty from those they serve. It is reciprocal. It is not a given.

Goodness find ways to give and earn respect.

Mediocrity finds ways to get by and fill the role.

You want loyalty above respect. You want to live in greatness. You can live in mediocrity or goodness or greatness. Choose.

Greatness: Every human relationship has the potential to be a great relationship. A customer can be a great customer. A supporter can be a great supporter. A family member can be a great family member. A co-worker can be a great co-worker. A staff member can be a great staff member. Choose. The choice lies in the hands of whoever takes the lead. Lead well. Manage that relationship.

Stages: There are five discernible stages to an effective relationship. Fringe, friend, familiar, faithful, and forever. You may have more, but I find these cross most relationships. In non-profits and congregations, I add a few and change the names around. These five hold. Honor them in building service inside your organization and amazing results transpire.

Fringe: Every relationship starts on the fringe. These are people with whom you have no relationship at all. They do not even know you exist. You may not know they exist. They are out there waiting to get to know you and enjoy your companionship and possibly your service. Respect them as valuable. Honor them. Give them credit for being worthy of dignity and your attention. People are worthy of your attention.

Friend: Somewhere you meet. Someone visits your brick and mortar shop. You talk to a businessman about a new sign. At the bank, you open a new account and meet a representative. Each human transaction can open a friendship. They become more aware of you and you become more aware of them. Being a friend is more than just acquaintance. You exchange information about each other. This exchange opens the next path. Many businesses leave potential customers at this juncture. They know your name and your business but nothing about you and your mission and vision and hopes and dreams and likes and dislikes. Open up and develop this relationship.

Familiar: Now, you have transacted business. This may be with a staff member where you’ve worked on a project. It could be with a customer who has purchased product or service. Maybe you have participated in a class discussion. But, there has been significant exchange requiring trust and revealing of more information. The familiar are more likely to engage at continuing intimacy of relationship and trust. Most people stop in relationships at this level. Customers never become settled. Staff members are held at a distance. Co-workers struggle to fully understand each other.

DANGER! The next two levels are dangerous. They require open-hearted exposure. That is why most never enter into these levels. When you lose a relationship at one of these levels it is painful. To be great, you must risk and receive pain. Go for it. The pleasure of good customer and co-worker relationships at these levels outweigh the pain. Assess the ability to be loyal in customers before you move them up into these ranks. Some customers are just jerks. Sorry. Be cautious. Some supporters are over controlling. Don’t be a fool and risk your organization. Some co-workers need psychologists more than you need them to get too close to the knitting. Advance the best and honor the rest.

Faithful: Over time, the familiar enter into more and more transactions. They become faithful. A faithful customer orders over and over. A faithful co-worker takes and gives advice continually and participates in more and more projects and actions. A faithful supporter reads updates and gives regularly. There is a goodwill and loyalty exchange that has become a given in the relationship.

Forever: Few relationships reach this level. There is a foundational commitment and insider understanding of operations for a business. These are customers for life. You find yourself talking through key business strategies with a foundational customer. A foundational co-worker sees you at your worst and at your best. A foundational supporter in a non-profit understands the mix of vision and mission and can advise on action with your best interest at heart.

Movement: Advancing from fringe to forever should be a pathway for marketing, operations, and activities of any organization. Take time to understand the events, education, information, engagement, transaction, and social touches that assist customers, co-workers, and compatriots in moving along this path. Each of these paths is a continual exchange and deepening of relationship. None should be one way. Have a purposeful plan to advance the best of the best relationships into the Forever circle.

Summary: This is a quick caricature of a complicated subject. Take time to map out your advancement strategies especially with key stakeholders and players in your life. You can have some wonderful moments with Forever people as customers, co-workers, and compatriots.

Remember people are not static.  As much as you invest, at any time an individual may abort the relationship and move to a conflict level or vacate the relationship. That is a risk.  But the joy of good connections outweigh the risks.

Join Champions of Fathering Sept 16th for Lunch and/or Tourney
Join Champions of Fathering Sept 16th for Lunch and/or Tourney