Over a period of a few years I had the pleasure of working within a professional services environment doing skills development work around partnering and consulting amongst highly educated scientists.
Fundamental to what was holding these outstanding people back within the realm of relationship management was the observation that they were just too nice, a culture of politeness, a comfort zone.
While on the one hand theirs was a culture of respect, on the other hand there was a culture of politeness where people were just too nice – avoiding the real conversations their relationships depended upon.
When it becomes a cultural norm to avoid the stretch zone of real conversations, we unintentionally co-create a culture of questionable credibility. Cultural credibility, amongst other things, depends on the extent to which we express respect through our confidence in ourselves and others to have the real, yet difficult conversations.
Question: To what extent does your organisation’s culture reflect a comfort zone of polite avoidance or a stretch zone of respectful engagement addressing the real issues through real conversations?