In the early 1900s Sigmund Freud and other psychotherapists argued that human behavior is a result of past experiences. But in the 1920s Kurt Lewin made the claim that behavior is a result of both the individual and the environment. His revolutionary ideas developed and evolved into the study of group dynamics that is invaluable to organizations today.

For the past year, I’ve been reading a lot about field theory, which explores the forces and factors that influence any given situation. For example, have you ever asked yourself, why do some people on your team find it easier to identify, build, nurture and capitalize on their business relationships than others?

World-Class relationships development is derived from abilities, skills (knowledge + experience), and behavior. If you begin to understand what are the helping relationships that move your people toward achieving their goals and hindering relationships which inhibit movement toward their goals, you can begin to understand the “system” in which they’re making their relationship investment decisions! You can begin to understand their comfort zones, their perceived competencies, and “safe relationships!” In essence, only by understanding the system, you can begin to change it and help them extend and expand that comfort zone.

I don’t know of a team that doesn’t need an infusion of fresh thinking, a business that doesn’t need an infusion of net-new clients, or an organizations that can’t benefit from a fresh lens. All three require dismantling of old beliefs and practices; all three involve creation of some confusion and distress as the old mindset or system breaks down; all three benefit from comfort and stability within a new framework.

In the past decade, I’ve found that changing people’s behavior is difficult because it involves painful unlearning, difficult relearning, and the restructuring of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and perceptions. I’ve also found, when it comes to developing extraordinary relationships, it’s worth it!

Make it a great week, David

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