The Boardroom and the Bedroom

When Team Clock was published in 2009, we offered up a simple model for creating and sustaining effective teams. As I shared the Team Clock concept with business leaders, time and again people asked me how these principles applied to interpersonal relationships. Could the conflict resolution and team building strategies applied in the boardroom also work in the bedroom? Does the cycle of investment, trust, innovation, and distancing play out between friends and management teams alike?

The recipe is the same. What enables teams to soar is no different than what makes interpersonal relationships thrive. In the micro-colony of a team’s infrastructure lives a matrix of partnerships where variations of two people engage in the peculiar dance of connection. Some move with closeness while others raise their guards to prevent being known or vulnerable. Some follow the reasonable rules of engagement while others violate them. Some fuel and lift their partners while others drain their teammate’s energy dry.

Like the investment phase of the Team Clock, connection begins with the challenge of creation. The thrill of discovery unfolds when we are forging something new. As the relationship transitions to the trust phase, we are introduced to the challenge of intimacy. Closeness is a tricky promise when individual histories have had mixed results. If the relationship moves forward, the foundation for growth is laid as partners leverage their trust to invite adventure. The challenges of growth now define each day’s interactions. All of this generates fundamental change in the essence of the connection. Partners distance from their previous understanding of the relationship and use that space to refuel and adapt to the new circumstances they have created. Once replenished and clear, the relationship comes back together to tackle a new cycle of discovery.

So whether you are wearing your freshly dry-cleaned suit or your favorite pajamas, the rules of engagement are the same.

1. Invest and discover possibilities.
2. Earn trust and dare intimacy to unfold.
3. Innovate and create an adventure.
4. Harness the recuperative magic of distance and space to adapt and embrace the next chapter.


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  • Roxy Cross  On November 5, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I was just having a discussion yesterday about the principles of business applying to relationships also, specifically how people raise to the level of their incompetence in business and relationships. Now here is another example. A more positive spin would be that people eventually can find their niche if they keep looking and your post provides the path to continue to grow together, in business and interpersonal connections! Perfect!

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