Yesterday I went to a negotiation skills workshop facilitated by Greg Campeau, the founder of Campeau Learning – a personal and professional development company; “enhancing leadership effectiveness” is their motto.  I met Greg last year at a time management seminar that my employers offered.  After that seminar in April last year, I approached him and let him know what my career goals are.  [Sidenote: If you haven’t told people what your goals are, I suggest you start with the people who have what it is you want.  Ask them how they did it, personalize it/make it your own and GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE– folks, I cannot emphasize that enough. That will singlehandedly build or burn bridges between you and your resources.  The people that share their knowledge with you, are doing so because they want you to progress, don’t make them regret their decision and don’t give them reason to hesitate in the future from doing so.  (Un)fortunately, I’ve been on both sides of that scenario, and it’s unpleasant on either end; you either feel taken advantage of, or you feel bad for having lost a resource.] But I digress… 

Greg has been incredibly supportive and encouraging, he met me in between meetings while he was in town, invited me to seminars, sent me resources and books titles, I’m honestly grateful to have crossed paths with him and further to have been able to build a relationship with him.  Which leads me back to the workshop.

Relationships.

Greg references Stephen Covey a lot; for those who are unaware, Covey is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” … it was quite popular a decade or so ago but has since lost its popularity, which is unfortunate, it’s a good read. Covey consolidated quite a few concepts that can be found in ancient philosophies and scriptures, one such concept is the “relationship bank account.” 

Just like the ‘credit’ of a bank account can be determined by the ratio of withdrawals to deposits (for example, if we withdraw more than we deposit we ruin the account and our credit or vice versa), the quality/health of our relationships can be determined by how much we withdraw and deposit into that relationship. When we go into a relationship thinking about our own needs, we’re in withdrawal mode; what can I get, how much can I get, etc. with that mindset of pushing boundaries, we’re going to overdraw that relationship fairly quickly and ruin the ‘credit’ we have with that person.  On the flip side, if we keep making deposits to that relationship, deposit more than we withdraw, i.e, give more than we receive, we build our credit with that individual and increase the likelyhood of that individual to invest in us! When people invest in us, it’s a good feeling, it encourages and inspires us, so we give more, and this spirals upward exponentially. Positive breeds positive.

It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Especially since society has engraved the importance of “me first” mentality — survival of the fittest; we must outwit, outsmart and outlast.  In philosophy, there’s something called the prisoner’s dilemma;

Two men are arrested, but the police do not possess enough information for a conviction. Following the separation of the two men, the police offer both a similar deal—if one testifies against his partner (defects/betrays), and the other remains silent (cooperates/assists), the betrayer goes free and the cooperator receives the full one-year sentence. If both remain silent, both are sentenced to only one month in jail for a minor charge. If each ‘rats out’ the other, each receives a three-month sentence. Each prisoner must choose either to betray or remain silent; the decision of each is kept quiet. What should they do?

Win-Win scenario, both stay quiet, but what happens more often than not, is greed settles in and self-interest settles beside and together both decide to ‘rat out’ their partner and inevitabley, both serve a longer sentence   

The game theory illustrates how, to get the best for ourselves, we’ll compromise our relationships and potentially betray them for our own self interest.  I think it’s safe to say that after that 3 month sentence neither partner will be giving each other much of their time, or trust for that matter and another relationship bites the dust…

Building relationships takes time, building credit takes time, so tell me, what’s the point of getting to the top by stepping on people like rungs on a ladder, burning bridges and overdrawing from relationships if you end up standing there old and alone?

Help one another and get there together; no one has ever become a lesser person by being the bigger person…

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