Relationships are both tricky and difficult while appearing easy. Especially when it comes to building organizations, creating sales, and finding deep friendship. We tend to take our relationships for granted as if they appear without our effort.
Transactional relationships are much easier than expansive ones. Examples of transactional relationships might include: selling someone something, working with a person who is asked to deliver something like a report or project, hiring someone to do some type of work for you. In this type of relationship, the deliverable creates a simple target that acts like a boundary around your conversations.
Expansive relationships are much harder to both develop and sometimes manage. They are filled with search, knowledge exchange, idea generation, and discovery. Their is no clear deliverable each time you talk. Expansive relationship conversations always include drift — moving from topic to topic. They take time with a heavy dose of deep attention and non-judgment.
Expansive relationships bring value to both parties involved. More open ended than a transactional relationship, either party may be driving a conversation at different times in a relationship. Building trust, enjoying deep friendships or finding love are incredibly powerful outcomes of expansive relationships.
Expansive relationships take much, much more time to develop and grow than transactional ones. Expansive relationships bring growth to the individuals as well as the organizations within which they live in. Non-profits or for-profit, expansive relationships bring context, hope, meaning and energy to individuals. On a personal level, fulfillment is most powerful when there is connection. Expansive relationships make connection deep, safe, and empowering.
But expansive relationships are messy. Both sides, many times, interrupt the other for their attention. They are never 2 minute conversations but rather 30 minute journeys. For people in roles that require the development of expansive relationships to bring life and energy to their organizations this poses a difficult problem. As you touch more people, the responsibility to participate in more 30 minute journeys without complaint grows exponentially.
Listening is as critical as sharing in expansive relationships. Respecting peoples excitement when they interrupt your day is foundational to their development. They can’t be rushed and take time for each individual to find their rhythm within it. Those sensitive to the value of expansive relationships understand the leverage and power within them for both.
Sadly, people view most of their relationships as transactional. I am this and you are that. I want this and you have that. I need this and you can give me that. I am available today and like this and you are available today and like the same thing.
They believe that all relationships can be turned on and off. Little happens of value when your relationships are merely transactional. Nor do they understand the problems that expansive centered leaders face when they are good at developing expansive relationships in terms of the pressures demanded of their time in giving others attention.
Invest a little more in those around you. Spend more time exploring, learning, sharing and discovering between you. Becoming better at expansive relationship building will bring you a deep joy and level of fulfillment that human connection always delivers. Building expansive relationships around you can be one of the most interesting journeys you take through each day of the rest of your life.