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Relationships: Why We Need Them And Why They Are So Hard (With Tanya Schecter & Matt Gould)

You know you can’t go it alone—you need a business partner, a co-founder, a team, a board…your success depends on your ability to navigate relationships like these. Today we have the unique opportunity to dive into the minds of Tanya Schecter and Matt Gould, co-founders of HTI Institute, where building great leaders, teams, and relationships are the very core of their business.

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Audio Transcription:

Tim:

I am sure we have all heard the simple phrase relationships matter, but what normally doesn’t follow is that relationships are not always easy and straight forward. We build teams, companies, organizations of diverse people and, guess what, we’re not all the same. We don’t think the same, we don’t act the same, believe the same things, so today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about a cool and simple tool, when used, will help you with the relationships that matter most.

Thanks for tuning in. I’m Tim Reitsma, the resident host of People Managing People. Welcome to the podcast. We’re People Managing People and we want to lead and manage better. We’re owners, founders, entrepreneurs, we’re middle managers, we’re team leaders, we’re managing people and, yes, we do human resources. But we’re not HR, at least not in the traditional sense. We’re on a mission to help people lead and manage their teams and organizations more effectively. If you want to lead and manage better, if you want to become a better organizational leader and more effective people manager, then join us.

Keep listening to the podcast to find the tips, tricks, and tools you need to recruit, retain, manage, and lead your people and organization more effectively. While listening to this show, please subscribe and join our mailing list on peoplemanagingpeople.com to stay up to date with all that’s going on.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing today’s guests in past episodes on conflict and WTF, who to fault. Today, we’re going to bring you the concept of a relationship map to help guide you as you lead coach, mentor, and build relationships with others. Matt and Tanya are the co-founders and business partners of HTI Institute, an organization focused on revolutionizing your relationships. Successful leadership, fulfillment, purpose, passion, and your life’s overall quality are impacted by your ability to navigate your relationships, and HTI Institute is here to help.

Just before we hit record today, we were just talking about a pre-question, but I want to ask you this question, Matt and Tanya, so whoever wants to take this one. Did you ever think you were going to be in business together?

Tanya:

No.

Matt:

No.

Tim:

Okay. That’s a pretty, pretty blunt, straight forward answer. In the context of relationships and, in this case, creating a business together, your answer is no, but what changed? Tell me about that. Tell me about the evolution of HTI Institute and when you first met and then how it grew into what it is today.

Tanya:

Sure. Matt and I first met at a coactive leadership course. It was a 10-month long course with about four different retreats that were in person over the 10 months. I had gone to the leadership program. I had had a successful career and had had my own company. And I’d kind of gotten tired of always being the one doing it on my own. Even though I had been working with consultants on an ongoing basis and hiring people, it wasn’t the same as having a partner, and so I had been looking to move into something in partnership with someone and I was hoping that at the leadership training and the program that I would meet somebody of a like mind. That’s why I went there. I think Matt had a slightly different angle as to why he wanted to attend.

Matt:

Yeah. My approach was to continue to stretch my leadership development as that was the business I had found my coaching practice lean into. I wasn’t looking for a partnership, I was not looking for a second business to grow and build, I was just looking to strengthen myself.

Tim:

Hmm. Tanya, you went with the idea of, “Hey, maybe I could find a business partner”, and Matt, you went to really strengthen what you were doing. How did you guys come together to say, “Hey, let’s start a business together”?

Tanya:

I met Matt the first morning of the first retreat. He had introduced himself to me by email beforehand just to see if we could connect and go in together. It didn’t work out, but I remember the first morning that I met him before we met as a group. We were sitting outside and he’s drinking coffee and he’s asking me what I do because we’re both from the same geographical region because there were people from all over the world who were coming. Then he started quizzing me about my business, who were my clients and where did I get my revenue from and what percentage, and I was thinking to myself, “What a jerk! We’re here for leadership and he’s like trying to figure out where I’m making my money and how much like I’m making and how successful I am?” I definitely wasn’t too impressed at first. What about you Matt?

Matt:

Yeah. It’s funny the impact you have when it’s not intentional. I was definitely comparing myself to the other 24 people in the group and Tanya was in my sights to see, “Okay, where do I rank up in comparison to?” It was … although the intention was not what happened and Tanya’s reaction, he’s a jerk, that wasn’t my intention. I obviously came across that way as I asked for her resume and actually didn’t really care who she was as a human.

Tanya:

Yeah. I don’t even think kid asked my name at that point or if it was, it was kind of like, “Yeah, that’s nice, and what’s your company?”

Matt:

Yeah, and if she said “what’s my name” I wouldn’t have remembered. That’s how we started, Tim.

Tim:

Wow! Okay. Fast forward how long, how long have you guys known each other?

Tanya:

It’s been about, what are we? We’re January. It’s been about a year and a half. Just coming back to the story, what I wanted to point out about the story though was that even though those were my first impressions, and I don’t think Matt, I think Matt similarly had some negative impressions of me when he first met me. Over the course of the week, I also saw a different side to Matt, and I saw other things that really got me interested. There were an openness and a willingness to try new things and a willingness to shift. In a way, that’s what started to bring us together. On my side, there was a more complete picture than just that first judgment or the first assumptions that I saw.

Tim:

Now you could tell a fun story about the first meeting.

Matt:

Yeah. The other thing I’d love to add is, what struck me about Tanya was there were an intensity and intelligence and also I’m going to stand up for what I believe in, a real commitment to her values. It was a stretch for me, it wasn’t comfortable. I found it conflictual and intense. Then I went inside myself and I said, “Oh! I’m attracted to that. If I’m to stretch myself as a people pleaser, as a softener of the space, [inaudible 00:07:29] spend some time over there with this lady, Tanya. She has a lot to teach me, and that was the attraction, and I’m so glad that we both decided to move forward.

Tanya:

Uh-huh (affirmative). It wasn’t a straight forward, “Okay, we’re going to … we’ve noticed these things about each other, we can teach each other things that we can grow together.” It really was a work in progress of having to work through different aspects of our blocks on our personality and grow in different ways. For Matt, there was a lot of, even just having the conversation of how we might move into business, there was a lot of conflict around that and we had to work through those conversations together. I had to work through letting some things with Matt that were very uncomfortable for me, of him wanting to keep things separate or to try and control things in certain ways and work with that as well.  

Tim:

Wow. it’s a great lead-in to just where my thought was going is, some relationships are easy, they come naturally and some are really difficult. This is a great example of, it started off, first impressions may not have been that rosy, that great, but there was something there and you stuck with it and have now built this business. When should someone who’s pursuing a relationship or business relationship or maybe they’ve hired someone and need to have that working relationship, should they just give up if it’s too hard?

Matt:

Yeah. I’ll give you my perspective. I believe it’s unique to each relationship and each situation. Tanya and I share a common purpose. We have different values and yet we have enough overlap and passion for contributing to relationships. We believe that relationships are one of the most important things that you’ll have in your life and that helped determine your quality of life. I just want to say being in a relationship and being in business with Tanya is really easy at times and exceptionally hard at times. I believe, Tanya, you’d say the same thing with me. There are moments where it’s like, “Wow, this is incredible, we’re on cloud nine.” Then a phone call or a text or a disagreement about something and all of a sudden it’s raining. Cloud nine at first into a thunderstorm. To answer your question, Tim, from my perspective, if you have a common purpose, and we call it a relationship stake if you have a common purpose and a common direction, lean in. Lean into the easy, lean into the hard and keep going with that common purpose in mind.

Tim:

I like that. Yeah.

Tanya:

Yeah. I also think that even when there’s not necessarily a common purpose, sometimes it’s the conversations. It’s not a great idea to just give up because it’s hard because you never know what you’re going to uncover or what magic can unfold. Just as you asked the question and then as Matt was talking, I was thinking of this movie I had seen, a documentary, and I can’t remember the man’s name. It’s this black guy who has gone around talking in the deep South to all these Ku Klux Klan members. He’s made friends with them and he single-handedly has, over the years from being in relationship with them, converted many to actually giving up their membership in the Ku Klux Klan. He actually has been given by ex-members a ton of when they gave it up. They’ve given him the outfits. He talks about it. It’s really that what he says is it’s through the relationship and through talking that he was able to change their minds and find that commonality for them to be able to see where maybe the values that they have in common are stronger than the ones that they don’t.

Tim:

I like that. Thank you for painting that picture of some relationships seem like they should never exist and they shouldn’t go anywhere, yet when we put our minds to it, and we maybe even put some of our differences aside, is what are we trying to achieve? What are we trying to do? What’s the purpose? Where are we going? Really unpacking more of the heart and soul of an individual or a group versus keeping it surface as, “Hey, how’s the weather today?” I think we all have those types of friends as we talk about the weather and what we’re doing on the weekends but it never goes deeper than that. I love what HTI Institute stands for. You talk about revolutionizing relationships. That’s, I think, one of the purposes, one of the goals of HTI Institute. Tell me about that. What does that mean?

Matt:

Tanya? Do you want to go ahead or do you want me to?  

Tanya:

Sure. I could start. I think, for myself, from my perspective, revolutionizing relationships, it’s really about getting to the deeper aspects and not just keeping it on the surface. It’s having the conversations that a lot of people call uncomfortable or difficult. Is it really a difficult conversation or is it just something that maybe we don’t know how to approach or we don’t have the tools or we’re afraid or projecting an impact that it may have? In the relationships that we hope to help foster and help people create for themselves, it’s really the ability to have those conversations that may seem initially difficult or uncomfortable because that’s where we can get to a deeper level and find a deeper understanding and connection with one another.

Tim:

Hmm, thanks. Matt, what do you have to add to that?

Matt:

For me, when I think of the word revolutionizing, there’s the scary revolution like a political revolution. There’s also, I make up that it’s also about revolving and movement. What I’ve learned in being in a relationship and with Tanya in designing this.

Tanya:

Yeah. A relationship where you’re constantly having deeper and deeper conversations is going to shift over time and get to a deeper level.  

Matt:

The movement piece is-

Tanya:

It’s going to grow and become something different.

Tim:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Matt:

Can you hear me, Tim?

Tim:

Yup. Yes.

Matt:

Oh, great. Sorry, sorry. A good example of the concept of a movement, [inaudible 00:14:26] relationships to me is about just constantly being in motion. If there’s a disagreement, let’s get curious together and keep moving through it. I believe this concept of being in a relationship is about movement and about knowing where you are at any given time. Whether it’s good, bad or any adjective you give to it, let’s navigate through it together.

Tim:

Uh-huh (affirmative). As you were talking, it reminded me of a story of my career at a tech company where the company was going through massive, massive change. We were having some concerns in one of our remote offices in Asia about, we were afraid everyone was going to leave the office, like quit and move on somewhere else. I was elected to go to this remote office and when I asked why was because I had a deep relationship with most people in the office even though I didn’t manage most of them, even though it was outside of my skill set or my core work function. It was about the relationship and, to me, it was always about building strong relationships within an organization and with your customers but also internally. It’s moving past the surface and it’s getting deep. It’s getting deeper into, yeah, the core of a person and an individual.

With that, I know on your website, HTIinstitute.com, you have developed a tool called the relationship map. I know there’s no video for this, so we will definitely be posting out a link to the map and where to find it, but I’d love for you to talk to me about what is a relationship map. Just a high level, what is it, how do you use it, why should we use it, and go from there.

Tanya:

Sure. That’s a great question. I think like to start with, what we always talk about is the language that we use our hearts together in hearts apart. We describe it that in any relationship, sometimes we’re moving closer together and we’re more in alignment and sometimes we’re farther away. In a map, it’s really important to know … like in a relationship, it’s really important to know where we are at any given moment. Are we closer? Are we farther? Are we moving farther when moving towards each other? The map helps us identify that.

Matt:

Yeah. The other thing is if you think of a map if people go to malls still, I know they’re buying on Amazon, if people go to malls, you would say, where at … first of all, where am I? You know, you’re in a mall, so you know you’re in a relationship, whether it’s with your spouse, with someone that supports you at work, your team, your customers, supplier, your neighbor. What the map does is it helps you say, “Where am I now?” You walk into the entrance of the mall, it’s like, “you are here.’ What our map does enables you to plot, to Tanya’s point, is my heart currently in alignment with Tanya’s or are we actually having a disagreement or a difference of opinion? We have different perspectives and our hearts may be floating apart. It helps us start with just where are we now? Where are you now? It helps locate you.

Tim:

It’s a locator tool. If I’m a founder of a small business, I’ve got a couple of people on my team. We always seem to be bumping heads, bumping into each other, just not getting along or coordinated or, “They’re sick. This thing’s moving a lot faster than what we could keep up.” How could we use this map to visualize, “Okay, this is where we are and this is where we need to go”?

Tanya:

Right. That’s a great question. That’s the other piece is, once we figured out where we are, just like a map starts to give us different alternative routes, and we can look at it to figure out how can we get to where we want to go, inside of the map, there are different areas that we can look at or different tools that we can use to get our hearts back into alignment or to find ourselves where we have a place of commonality. We look at different aspects of it. One is responsibility, one is the idea of what are our values and where can we find commonality around that, having a relationship stake that we can work with, and also using the sticky tool that we talked about before, which was the self-regulation piece.

Matt:

Sorry, Time. Back to your point about bumping heads, as well, to support what Tanya said, you would establish that we’re bumping heads. You can locate in the HTI terminology that would most likely be hearts apart, and we’re bumping heads together, and to reference Tanya’s point around sticky, there’s this concept of, and you’ll see on the map, there’s this awareness field and there’s an awareness that “Oh, we’re bumping heads.” Now, we get to stop together and think about what’s available to us. We can understand why we understand each other’s perspective and we get to have a really healthy conversation about the fact that we’re bumping heads. We don’t make people right in our model. We don’t make people wrong in our model. It’s an invitation to have a conversation to navigate together towards a new destination.

Tim:

Uh-huh (affirmative). I like that because it really ties in our previous conversations of who to fault. That’s our default method of conflict is, whose head is on the chopping block? Who can I yell at today? Then it leads into our conversation, Tanya, about conflict. I was thinking about a situation in my life that’s going on right now and how I am completely avoiding the conflict, and I went back to our conversation and I felt really guilty about it and thought, “Okay, I need to dig into this and figure out why I’m avoiding this conflict or sending off an email that I know is not going to kind of resonate very well with the other party. Maybe I should send this person a relationship map as well and say, “Hey, [inaudible 00:21:02, can we work-

Matt:

Yeah. It’s funny you said guilty, Tim. Sorry, Tanya. It’s funny you said guiltily. To me, guilty is an empty calorie that we consume, and we consume it with our thoughts. I feel guilty. Absolutely, I’m sure this is going to sound like self-promotion, absolutely. Download the map and say, “Hey look, this is where I feel I’m at. Let’s have a conversation.” Tanya has done a really good job articulating an article around … at the corner of our map are these four cornerstones. Just to speak about one of them, because I’m sure we don’t have time for all of them, one of them is to be curious. You can get curious yourself, Tim, about the guilt. You can also throw it out there to that person and just get curious about what happened and how do we think it happened and what’s going on for him. We’ve got these four cornerstones that, really, when you feel guilty and you are consuming that empty-calorie for the mind, you can go somewhere, get a resource, and one of them that I found extremely powerful is to be curious.

Tanya:

To add on to that, it’s also coming back to them, one of the foundational elements that we have in the map is responsibility, taking full responsibility. If we’re taking full responsibility, part of it is being curious about where … if we’re avoiding conflict, what part in it do we play? Where can we improve? Where can we take responsibility for our own behavior or own? Perhaps we haven’t stepped up in a way or we’ve contributed to the conflict and we’re not managing or taking responsibility for our impact.

Matt:

Tanya, what I love about you just said, I know that’s a total interruption, what I love about what you just said is there’s no blame. If you’re taking full responsibility, Tim … I just interrupted Tanya, a blame statement would be, “Tanya, it’s my turn.” A full responsibility statement is, “I know I just interrupted you and”, so this concept of taking full responsibility means in a relationship, and I can think of relationships in my life where I still blame. my first reaction is to blame, and when I referenced the map I’ll say, “Oh! I need to take full responsibility for how I’m feeling and my reaction and how do I now create from a place of full responsibility.” I tell you, I use it with Tanya a lot. I’m sure she wants to blame me for things, and I know she takes a breath and says, “Okay. How do I articulate this in a way that she’s taking full responsibility for how she feels without blaming me?” It makes the world of difference in our relationship.

Tim:

Yeah. It’s a couple of things. First off, I thank you for the free coaching that I get when I do podcasts with you both. Selfishly, I love this. It’s unpacking things that I’m going through.

Matt:

We learn a lot [crosstalk 00:24:08], thank you.

Tim:

I think it’s common. It’s common in business, it’s common in, in partnerships, in co-founder relationships. It’s common in relationships when you’re hiring new talent or bringing people on. It’s something that, we’re going down into that. We’re just avoiding conversation down that path. But if we do that, if it wrecks the relationship, if it wrecks the ability to get curious, one of the cornerstones on the map, it really tears it apart. We’re not open to new possibilities. We don’t understand what the truth is because now we’re making up our own truth. 

Tanya:

Absolutely.

Tim:

I love the saying of there are always three sides to every story. It’s your side, my side, and then the truth. Then we start playing into that in relationships and it becomes very toxic. It can become toxic. I’m curious, if you have an example, aside from using it within your own organization, if you’re able to speak to an example of how you’ve used this with an organization, don’t say names but … what was the outcome of that?

Matt:

I can share one, Tanya if you’re okay with that.

Tanya:

Yeah, yup.

Matt:

We’re having one right now inside HTI, and that is around a balance of time. We have a book coming out, and Tanya has some superpowers both on creating content, as well as editing and formatting, she’s written a book before. Right now, the scales feel imbalanced, and so we are actually using this map to have just a really healthy conversation. There are moments of charge and yet we utilize the tools in this one to move our way through. It’s not resolved yet, and I’m so confident … as a former conflict avoider, I just feel so calm through the current tension around workload and fairness, and I know without a doubt, without a shadow of a doubt that we all both communicate our truth. We’ll both take full responsibility for where we are and we’ll get through it at some point.

Tim:

Wow.

Tanya:

Yeah. Full responsibility is, coming back to the blame thing, it’s identifying the problem. Then it’s saying, “Well, what can I personally do to fix this and whether I helped cause it or not is irrelevant, and what can I do in partnership with the other people involved to help them participate in the solution?” It’s very solutions-oriented as opposed to backward-looking.

Matt:

A lot of what we do, to give you a company example outside of our own is, we are really a relationship-based leadership company. We are developing leaders in our leadership academies. We have a company, not in our province, east of us, where there’s a lot of sales manager, salespeople relationships. You can relate to this, Tim, I’m sure, around hitting targets in some of your previous roles. When there’s a missed target, generally, what can happen without this type of tool is people will blame their salespeople for missing the target and then the salespeople blame the leadership for, that the targets are too high or they blame the environment or they blame something, I’ll tell you what. Blame is wasted energy. It is toxic and it doesn’t resolve anything. It doesn’t get you any further ahead.

Even if you do land blame on someone, we call it the start line. That’s the start line now to do something about it. We’ll put all our resources on, “Okay, we now know where the fault was. Let’s move forward.” What Tanya and I believe in is, before we … why waste energy searching for blame if someone or something can just take full responsibility, which is essential, we’ve missed our target. We always use the language we, like we have missed our target. Me, the sales manager, and you the salesperson, we have not met our expectations. Now let’s understand how we got to this stage and how we want to move forward and do something differently. What can you do? What can I do and what can we do?

Tanya:

Yeah. It comes back to the other cornerstone that we haven’t mentioned, which is committed to what is. When we say commit to what is, we’re not saying commit to like, “Oh, this is just the way it is. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do.” It’s not that. It’s committed to what is. This is a situation we’re in right now. This is where we’re starting from, not what we wish it were. I wish we had made the sales target. I wish she was a better salesperson. I wish that they hadn’t been sick and had worked harder or worked on the weekend. That’s not the start line. The start line is we missed the sales targets. What are we going to do now?

Tim:

Uh-huh (affirmative). I love this. I love this way of thinking. Changing our narrative, changing the way we think and the way the words come out of our mouth. If this is new to us if we’re always struggling with, “Okay, who to blame? Who am I going to? Who am I going to blame for something?” I have very surface relationships with my team, with the people around me, maybe even my co-founders. What’s the first step we should take? How do we kick this off? How do we sit down and say, “Okay, we need to work on our relationship.” Most people I talk to in business, and I really don’t like this, so I hope I don’t offend anybody, is the saying “We’re too busy. I’m too busy to focus on this.” Without this foundation, we’re always going to be just too busy. How do we start? Where do we start?

Matt:

Yeah. I’ll take the first stab of it. There are many ways to start. In fact, I would argue there are infinite ways to start. That won’t necessarily help your abundance of listeners here, Tim. One way to start is to communicate the truth. What I would say about the concept, and I used to use this, I don’t have time, and Tanya’s going to laugh because time comes up regularly around me. That is not the truth, Tim. I don’t have time is not the truth.

The truth statement is I did not prioritize this task or this area of responsibility with the time that I’m allotted. I’m speaking about speaking the truth, speaking your truth. I did not prioritize the time is more of a truthful statement, and that’s one avenue to open up a conversation, and now it’s just, “Okay, wow, that is true. Matt didn’t prioritize something. Wow, what did he prioritize?” We can use the tools that we’ve created here to just go and have an incredible discovery conversation. To Tanya’s point, the start lines now, truth is the start line and let’s see where it goes. There’s a lot of efficiency that gets created and a lot of energy focused on a better outcome when you start with the truth.

Tanya:

Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah, I would agree that having an open and heartfelt conversation, and what I would also say is that the whole thing in a business where people are like, “Oh, I don’t have time to focus on the relationship”, it’s like what’s the cost of not focusing on the relationship. I think of it sometimes as simple as, I asked people to think about when they’re in a supermarket almost everybody’s been at a cash register in line with someone or pushing a shopping cart and somebody comes up behind and starts to push them forward. Our natural inclination is to kind of resist and gets tensed. But if we turn around and we see that the person is our husband or wife, our kid, somebody that, or a friend that we’re in a relationship with, we’re much more to let them guide us.

When it comes down to business, I just had this conversation as I was leaving my house today with my 15-year-old son, because he wants to go into business and we were talking about how, “Sure, you can go and get into commerce and get all the technical skills. But the real thing is learning how to manage people because you can be the best project manager and the best organizer and the best person at manipulating facts and pieces, but if you can’t get people to want to do what you need them to do, you’re totally screwed. The piece is really to invest in your relationships upfront because if you don’t have time for that, you’re going to lose a lot of time down the road managing them or trying to fix what’s wrong.

Tim:

Yeah. I love that you went there. It brought up just a number of stories and thoughts about that. Yeah, relationships matter. It doesn’t matter that it’s 2020 right now. Relationships still matter. They mattered 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, and they will matter as we go into this future that’s unknown. We need to have relationships, but we also need to know how to navigate relationships. You both have mentioned it a few times is trust, and the foundation of any relationship is trust. Not trust that, “Hey, I trust that you’re not going to stab me in the back.” That’s one thing, but trust that you’re going to have my back, and trust that when things get tough, we’re going to stand together. We’re not going to look to blame or who to fault. We’re going to navigate conflict constructively. That all starts with trust.

Patrick Lencioni talks about this in his five dysfunctions of a team where you can’t have a team unless you have trust. You need to have that foundation. I love how you’ve built on upon that maybe consciously or subconsciously is, “Okay, now we’ve got trust, how do we actually build relationships?” I think if you’re listening and you’re maybe founder of a company, you don’t have a dedicated HR team or maybe you do, it doesn’t take a lot of time. It may take a lot of effort, but to build relationships and to start having those relationships, because when you do, things are going to flow, things are going to move more naturally and you’re going to be able to move past that blame conversation that takes, sometimes takes weeks. I’ve been involved in those where it’s like, “Okay, a mistake happened. How do we move forward from this?”

Matt:

Yeah. It’s back to the efficiency piece. Whether you’re a startup and you’re the sole practitioner in this business, you have a vision and you want to go somewhere. In order to do commerce and in order to earn money, you need to have a relationship with a customer, with an investor, with someone. If you’re a large multinational corporation, if you’re a government, it is a series of relationships both internally with the customers, at home with your families as you spend a lot of time at work most likely, and as you just navigate to and from those two core areas of our lives. Yeah, absolutely. Being able to be in relationships in good times and bad is paramount for business. It’s how we inspire people. That’s why we really speak a lot about relationship-based leadership. I don’t believe, Tim and Tanya, I don’t love your opinion. I don’t know if you can lead anyone anywhere as we’re moving forward towards our goals if trust gets eroded. People will stop following. They’ll stop moving with you. What are your thoughts on that concept?

Tanya:

I agree totally. I would even say that relationships right now matter more than anything. When we look at what’s going on in the world between the technological, life is becoming very transactional, there isn’t a lot of face to face interaction anymore, people are losing the ability to communicate with one another. The media is all over the place and there’s a distrust in even the information that’s being disseminated, it’s almost that trust and relationships are becoming a more and more valuable commodity because they are so rare. People are losing the ability to have them and develop them. The more that people can work on it, the stronger they’ll be.

Tim:

Yeah. It’s about really, yeah, what does trust mean in today’s world and what do relationships mean in today’s world? It’s great to say, “Hey, we’re focused on building relationships in our business and with our customers,” but if you’ve been burned in a relationship once or twice or three times, it may be harder to, to win that back. If you’re building a business or building a brand or building a team, why not start off from the right foot and stand for what you believe. If something is going awry in the business or somebody saying things that don’t work with what you’re trying to do, then it even around the map you’re using the right words, it says, stop, think, choose and implement. It’s really that concept of, “Hey, let’s stop for a minute, let’s think about what’s going on” and then we have a choice and now we need to implement that choice.

I love that visual and just even that language. I’m a process guy, I love the process, so that really speaks to me of, “Okay, I need to stop for a minute.” You have somebody who has been burned by relationships in, let’s say business, for the context of the podcast. What would your advice be for those people?

Matt:

A couple of things. There’s always right now to understand where did you yourself caused the burn. If someone’s been burned in a relationship, their eyes might be laser-focused on the other person that caused the burn. Potentially, a support person, a leader, a boss, whatever language you want to put to it. I would say one direction is to turn your eyes inward to yourself right into your soul and say, “Where did I take? Where am I responsible for that relationship going that way? One way I know, I’ve been burned before and I know where it was my fault, Tim and Tanya, it’s when I didn’t speak up when I didn’t have the courage to speak up and tell the truth and say that’s not okay. To me, the trust was broken down, not by the other person treating me poorly, but by me not having the courage to trust myself that I could stand up and speak and say, “Hey, stop. That’s not okay.”

There’s a real natural tendency to blame someone else. I would say one direction is to go inward. In my experience in corporations, and I know I contributed to it too, there’s a lack of truth out of fear of employment, out of fear of repercussions, and I wish I had met Tanya years ago and we could have created this years ago because it would help me be way more successful in some of my early days in my career. To be able to voice my truth without it being the absolute truth. Share my perspective is what I’m trying to say, Tim. Then sit and stay and innovate from there. Whether you’re a startup, whether you’re a large business, we’re constantly striving to innovate to thrive, and it must come from speaking the truth. I know that’s a lot of words, that would be my direction. Go inward first and take responsibility and speak your truth.

Tanya:

Uh-huh (affirmative). It comes back to what can I learn from that situation? What can I learn about myself? What can I learn about what I can tolerate, what I can’t tolerate? What can I learn about where I’m willing to go? Because all of that typically plays into when we’ve been burned. It’s always come back to that saying, “It takes two to tango.” I would fully agree with Matt that the more we can get comfortable having heartfelt conversations where we hold to our truth without blaming someone else, we can hold a diametrically opposed truth and share it with someone without being confrontational. The better that we can get at that, the better our relationships will be.

Matt:

We don’t have to agree. I love that Tanya. We don’t have to agree, Tim. Tanya can think red and I can think blue, and we can have an extremely heated, curious debate and we can end with, “Okay. You believe red, I believe … okay.” That was an incredible conversation that enriched where we were going and let’s keep going.

Tanya:

Yeah. It happens all the time. There was once, my husband was listening to our work, we were on a Zoom call, and I had my headset on. I got off the call, my husband’s like, “Oh, it sounds like you guys aren’t on the same page at all.” I was like, “Huh? What? No, we’re totally fine. We were just like hashing it out.

Tim:

I love that. You’ve got the trust and you’re building a relationship, conflict isn’t seen as conflict anymore. It’s seen as we need to … we have a disagreement, we have now a workflow to work through it and at the end of the day we’re going to say, “Hey, we’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

Matt:

There’s lots of alignment, Tim. There’s lots of alignment. We get into these, traditionally the word is conflict. I call it now creation. We are creating a better outcome because Tanya’s taking a stand, I’m taking a stand and then we … it’s not win-win. We’re not merging thoughts. A better outcome always comes from conflict. It’s growth.

Tim:

Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah, it is. It’s how we grow, but it’s also how we approach it, and I think that’s where, again, the previous, a couple of podcasts with both of you, I think our listeners, if you haven’t listened, you need to listen to those because it’s really convicted me in a way of how do I handle conflict? How do I take responsibility for actions and words and not dwell on it, but reflect on it and figure out how to move forward with it in person and in business. I love that. We could probably go on for a couple of hours on this topic, and I love it, but as we wind it down, I’d just love to hear any final thoughts about relationships and how this simple tool yet very, very great tool and the profound tool has impacted you more than it has. Any final thoughts on that?

Matt:

Yeah. I’ll go first. I’d say the quality of my life is, I can rate the quality of my life based on the quality of relationships I have. The relationship I have with myself, the relationship I have with you, Tim, Tanya, the relationship with you, the relationship with my wife, my teenagers, my extended family, the quality and there are different levels in all of that is directly impacted by how I navigate those relationships. My final thought is I used to, personal story, I used to avoid conflict thinking it would smooth things over and everything would be just fine.

Well, boy, did I mess up a bunch of relationships because of being a conflict avoider. Now, even if I don’t know how to solve something, I’ll say, “Hey, I’ve got an issue and I don’t know where to go.” It’s incredible how the resources show up to solve problems. Last final thought is, if you’re stuck in a relationship or if you’re in a thriving relationship and you want to take it even further, you don’t need to know what’s next, you just need to articulate where you are right now. Thanks for having me, Tim. I love collaborating with you.

Tim:

Thank you.

Matt:

Tanya?

Tanya:

Yeah. I would add to that and say, I agree with everything that you say-

Matt:

Not always.

Tanya:

I think it’s really important. No, not always, but right now I’m agreeing with everything you said. That it’s really important to get out of the idea that any conflict has to have a winner and a loser. We can get out of that and also decide to take responsibility for the decisions that we make. It removes us from the place of victimhood. It empowers us to decide where we’re going to go with our relationships. Even if that’s a place of, “Okay, I’m willingly going to engage in a conflict and it may have a fallout.”

Instead of feeling like, “Oh, I was burned from that”, it empowers us because it’s like saying, “Well, actually, I chose that and I decided that it was more important to me to have the conversation even if it means having a fallout or something doesn’t end the way I’m hoping it to. Then to just say, “Oh well, I shouldn’t have had that conversation because look, it’s just more proof that it leads to a problem or it can make things worse.” I think that that difference going from victimhood to empowerment is also helpful in ultimately empowering us to make all of our relationships greater.

Tim:

Hmm. Thank you so much. So much rich insight in even just your final statements. I’ve really appreciated your time and your insights and what you have to offer our community. Don’t worry, listeners, we will have a link to the website, HTIinstitute.com, as well as the relationship map in the show notes on our website.

With that, just thanks so much Tanya and Matt for taking the time today and providing so much value on this conversation on relationships. I value both of you and the insights and the wisdom you have to offer. One thing I said in the podcast and I’ll say it again is, “I’ve got a lot of work to do in my relationships and so I appreciate the coaching that you’ve provided me.” To our listeners, thanks for tuning in. We’re here for you because of you, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and comments, so please reach out. Also, please check out our website peoplemanagingpeople.com and make sure to sign up. We’ve got a lot of great content coming your way. With that, we’ll wrap up. Have a great day, everyone. Cheers.

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