In the first stage, each partner in a business relationship tends to see the best in the other, to see the most potential in their relationship, and to overlook (or not even be aware of) any ways in which the other might fall short.
This stage is abruptly ended by the power struggle stage. Now each party can see all the ‘faults’ in the other, is often genuinely shocked when the faults materialise, as if they hadn’t existed until that moment (which they had). Each party is fighting to have their needs met in the business relationship. It’s fatal to think this is the end of the relationship, because then it will be.
Both parties retire to lick their wounds: they don’t want the relationship to end. Usually, they realise they have a problem but, whether they are aware of the solution or not, they refuse to take the next step.
It’s clear that the first three stages were all about “me, me, me”. It’s only in partnership that the relationship becomes about “us”. This is, obviously, a far more productive and useful place to be for any workplace. At base, people’s unwillingness (refusal) to take the next step stems from doubt. Doubt they can do it, doubt they will be accepted if they do, doubt… . Any doubt the ego can create in order to keep them ‘safe’.
Once two people can make their relationship about “us”, they can make it about the other person. This may be the client, or a member of staff. In the fifth stage, leadership, people typically are able to make the other person more important than them, as Chuck Spezzano has put it. If each party in the relationship is making the other more important than them, that is going to be the most useful way of deepening and enhancing the relationship and, in business terms, growing the business.
About this model
This model was originally developed by Susan Campbell from original research (see The couple’s journey, 1980). It was substantially developed by Chuck Spezzano and integrated into his Psychology of vision model of personal development. The best writeup is in Wholeheartedness (Chuck Spezzano, 2000, pp 25-47), from which this presentation has been derived.
> The stages of a work relationship—introduction
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by Jeremy Marchant . © 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . uploaded 10 july 2015 . image: Free images
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