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Relationships and tasks- getting the balance right - ODNEurope south east gathering 17/6/19

julian burton


At our last ODNE SE gathering last week, We explored and shared experiences of how to create a learning culture, and how can we pay attention to what matters. One theme that came up in discussion was the idea that when people are working on their tasks, and may feel under pressure,  they can find it hard to find time and space to build relationships. As someone remarked, it’s ironic that taking time out from delivery and spending time to learn about each other is critical for improving how we deliver our work predominantly interdependent tasks. It may feel really hard to make time for relationships as they are at the heart of any culture of improvement.

We have been looking at what some call the dominant view of management that believes that work is done transactionally by individuals (Hartling, L. and Sparks, E., 2008); yet the collaborative, interactive nature of organising and coordinating mutually interdependent tasks and roles means that effective working relationships are what gets things done (Fletcher 2001).

If learning to nurture working relationships are so critical, why we do we call it the soft stuff?