4 generations - my granddaugher TatyMy recent interview with CSR Leaders, Master Bridge Builder Nadine Hack Is In The Lead, focuses on the importance of strategic relational engagement (SRE).   I’ve distilled the essence of SRE from four decades during which I’ve helped clients, taught executive education participants and worked with leaders globally on how to most effectively sustain relationships with all types of stakeholders.  This past month, as I visited with four generations of my family members, I was reminded that the essence of how we initially relate comes from how we were raised.  But, I also observed in my behavior and others that each of us has the freedom to expand our personal narrative and learn how to relate in broader – sometimes healthier – ways.  I felt joy as I experienced those who had blossomed and could extend themselves fully/graciously and I felt sorrow for those who seemed doomed to remain defined by limitations.  While each of us may have wonderful qualities forged in our nuclear family, none of us is “trapped” by its possibly more destructive aspects.  Ever growing our ability to relate, we can shape our destiny.

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Nina Streich August 1, 2012, 1:21 pm

    It is important to recognize how our upbringing impacts on our actions today. We all have the ability to overcome the chains of the more destructive aspects of how we were raised and it is liberating to do so. Let’s use this understanding to make a positive difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.

    Hey Nadine, I’m having coffee with Michael Schlein this afternoon – first time I’ve seen him in at least ten years. Where does the time go? Look forward to seeing you when you’re back stateside.

  • Chris Seifert August 1, 2012, 1:54 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article regarding your approach for organizing initiatives, especially the following since I’ve never seen it (fully) done: “make certain everybody has a shared clear understanding of exactly the (a) collective goal; (b) individual goals of each stakeholder individual or stakeholder group; and (c) how does that collective goal align with those individual goals, including the expectations, needs and responsibilities of each and all stakeholders”.

  • Peter Schellinck August 1, 2012, 2:40 pm

    No doubt, raised corporate governance standards have positive impacts for local communities and indeed communities around the world. In light of recent financial and environmental crises, such long-term investment policies are essential to ensuring the health and growth of our economies going forward.

    Whether it’s CSR, ESG or any other way of framing peoples’ responsibility in the community (social, civil or corporate) the urge for SRE to be clearly outlined and actively pursued seems obvious to me. Unfortunately not every organization that claims it adheres actually does so. The gap between what they print and actually do is still frighteningly large (in Switzerland some very large companies are good examples).

    With respect to change it is the only constant phenomena in our lives and hence leadership through change must provide meaning, encourage practical wisdom about how to do things differently in particular circumstances and build in review so that learning becomes the norm.

    Somehow we thrive when the challenges of the world in which we work, learn and live draw fully on the perspective we bring. When these challenges are diverse enough for our curiosity, complex enough for the connections we flourish. People all over the world describe feeling confident, competent, energized, even exhilarated when coping successfully with new challenges.

    However, when our challenges are insufficient for the perspective we bring, we feel frustrated, switched off. We grow anxious, hesitant, and low on confidence. We lose touch with our intuition, and if there are choices to be made, they seem obvious and self-evident, tedious and demoralizing. A ‘challenge’ that requires no judgment is no challenge – and no fun.

    After all, people seek ‘flow’ because it is a reward in itself. The feeling of being in flow gives us energy and confidence, which feed accomplishment, which in turn boosts energy, in a cycle of positive reinforcement. As such flow is not a luxury, but a staple of life. It inspires us to grow, since we seek the pleasure of being in flow as often as possible, yet as our perspective widens, we can achieve it only by tackling bigger challenges. It often feels as if our growing perspective has a life of its own as it seeks ever-farther horizons.

    By seeking out associates and activities that challenge us in a positive sense – neither so much that we despair, nor so little that we doze off – we pave the way for a fulfilling, dynamic life, with opportunities each day to give the best in us, and receive the best in return.

  • Nadine B. Hack August 1, 2012, 3:52 pm

    Peter – I assume your thoughtful comment is in response to my interview with CSR Leaders for which I gave a link in first sentence of my short blog post. If you choose to have another audience be exposed to your thoughts, you can cut and paste your text into that site as well at http://csrleaders.com/?page_id=574.

    Chris – you’re right: few individuals or organizations when thinking about fully engaging their stakeholders: “make certain everybody has a shared clear understanding of exactly the (a) collective goal; (b) individual goals of each stakeholder individual or stakeholder group; and (c) how does that collective goal align with those individual goals, including the expectations, needs and responsibilities of each and all stakeholders.” This is what I try to achieve by sharing SRE with organizations that want to make the break-through.

    Nina – say hi to Michael: as I’ve stayed closely in touch with each of you, we three are a perfect example of how to maintain relationships over the long-haul!

  • Peter Schellinck August 1, 2012, 4:30 pm

    Hi Nadine, thanks and yes the first part was intended for your interview with “CSR Leaders” and the second half as a reflection on “Relationships and their foundations” and how people behave. Somehow and at some point we are all stakeholders in one way or another.

  • technospunky August 2, 2012, 1:31 am

    I am also interested in the effects all the continued negativity on building open relationships with strangers. We are told constantly, be on your guard, watch out, be careful, spam, disreputable marketing tactics and theft. It is a wonder any of us are even willing to be open or to put ourselves out there to start new conversations, build new relationships. Everyone is so busy being worried about the ‘what are you trying to sell me” or the “what is the catch”, that it makes genuine interest, open communication and helping for free next to impossible. With that said, I also see everyday where people in a worldwide community reach out regardless, it is those relationships that are valuable because they are not there as a one hit wonder, spammer or thief but as a person whom it might be nice to know. Communication is definitely an art form in this world of Data based and curated relationships. Just my two cents :-) ~Technospunky (AKA: Desiree)

  • Carly Alyssa Thorne August 2, 2012, 2:10 am

    At the end of the day we all have choices and how we choose to engage and or relate to others especially within family dynamics when we are visiting our roots when it can be challenging as our old out dated behaviors may or may not come up…

    Choosing to not let others take us out emotionally or in other way and still staying true to our core beliefs and being willing to listen to others even when we may not agree.

    To be able to meet people where they are at emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

    Challenging and worth the journey if we choose to take it.

    Communication is most definitely an Art form… LOL
    I even wrote an article titled “The Art of Communication, what are you saying ?”
    Enjoy the Journey

  • Nadine B. Hack August 2, 2012, 9:12 am

    Carly – please provide a link to your article titled “The Art of Communication, what are you saying?” I believe my readers will enjoy seeing it. In the meantime, I am enjoying the journey, – Nadine

    Desiree – Yes, those who can overcome all the fear about old and/or new relationships, particularly in this digital age, can discover an entire universe of trusting and supportive relationships. Best, – Nadine

  • Nadine B. Hack August 2, 2012, 9:43 am

    Carly’s article can be found at http://bit.ly/OCYi0h for those interested.

  • Jeanne Browne (aka MizB) August 3, 2012, 9:47 am

    Dear Nadine — Having known you since dinosaurs roamed the earth and knowing that your life has never been an easy one, I commend you for your positive attitude and never-ceasing efforts to be better in every way: as a person, a friend, a family member, a citizen, a teacher, a businesswoman. All of us have to both draw on the best of our upbringing and overcome the worst of it. I try to remember that my parents, now deceased, had very difficult upbringings and did the best they knew how as parents (whatever their shortcomings). On good days, that helps. On bad days, I just roll myself into a ball and wait for the ill winds to pass…

  • Katherine Vero August 6, 2012, 2:42 pm

    Hi Nadine
    We met in Lausanne on the SR course where you truly inspired me. My reflections in response to your blog;

    I have recently been reflecting on the impact of my upbringing on my values and relationships as my mother died in April. She was a strong and courageous woman who suffered from dementia in the last years of her life.
    The loss of such an influential person has given me new insight into my own life; the values we shared and those we did not. Now that she is no longer here I am considering the values that truly belong to me and the life I now want to lead. This has been a very profound experience.
    Thank you for your insight – which is for me authentic and at the core of the truth of our shared humanity.

  • Nadine B. Hack August 7, 2012, 11:10 am

    Dear Katherine – of course, I remember you quite well. Thank you for sharing your personal reflections about your mother and I am very sorry for your loss. My father died 10 months ago and my mother, who already was declining physically and mentally, has gone seriously downhill since his death. So, I know first-hand the deep affect of such personal loss. Warm wishes, – Nadine

  • cairns August 29, 2012, 3:13 am

    I am always looking online for articles that can facilitate me. Thanks!

  • Mithu Hassan September 2, 2012, 11:44 am

    Stopping by to say , Hello !!

  • Mari-Lyn Harris September 16, 2012, 4:37 am

    It must of been really cool to speak to 4 generations of family members. There is so much richness to discover the stories and lessons.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Nadine B. Hack October 7, 2012, 4:02 pm

      Mari-Lyn – it absolutely was and is! I cherish the intergenerational connections.


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