Relationships are Messy

by Hazel Bodner


A few weeks ago, I heard “Relationship are Messy” in the Wake Forest graduation speech. I’ve decided this is a Good Messy, like spreading pink frosting on a strawberry cake or a 3 year old eating a chocolate ice cream cone outside on a hot summer day. The messy part can keep some people from the interactions. But try to shift your brain and start thinking of it as a fun, healthy mess not to be missed.

As employers and employees, I think it’s important that we study the messiness, if you will. President Hatch suggested that we need to “Stop, Look and Listen.” He has three ideas in his speech to help us get on track. One is to ask ourselves what was “storyworthy” in our day at the end of each day. Reflecting will ultimately help us keep a pulse on relevance. He points to a statistic that 1/3 of our day is spent connected. The end result is that people are becoming less emphathetic. As managers and employees we need to be “in” each other’s shoes to completely understand the other side of the story and explain our side of the story.

My oldest son graduated from grad school. His story that day was sharing his favorite restaurant in Winston-Salem with his family. There were many other places we could have visited, but that was his choice. A time-worn delicious barbecue restaurant where he watched games, ate brisket and drank beer. We ordered a wide variety of menu items for a sampling, and I tried a new beer. This was Josh’s story for that life event.

President Hatch’s complete speech is here. If I haven’t convinced you to set the phone down, he will.

Keep in mind, that your interactions with co-workers and customers may end up being their story that day.

Hazel BodnerComment