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Pastor's letter for February
February 10, 2020, 1:28 PM

The following paragraphs are taken from Transforming Relationships for High Performance by Jody Hoffer Gittell. This book describes the problem all organizations, marriages, families, churches, and companies face today.

“Organizations in virtually every industry are facing pressures to do more with less. Were all being held with a gun to our heads, that if you continue doing things the way we did things, we are going to be a nonentity . . . You cant continue lose people and survive . . . were frustrated . . . We dont get the interest from people that we once got . . . if you dont make the changes, youre going to be doing catering.” There are two ways to respond, low road strategies (pay cuts, increased workload, longer hours, general degradation of working conditions) or High road strategies (mutual gains, win-win, or integrative solutions).

High road strategies are fundamentally relational, powered by high-quality connections across key stakeholders. High-road strategies require stakeholders to create new value and share it fairly. To take the high road requires a different approach—a fundamental transformation of relationships among co-workers, between workers and their customers, and between workers and their leaders. In the pursuit of high road strategies human capital is only half the story—it is through social capital that human capital is combined and leveraged for maximum impact. Thus the primary focus in this book is on relational coordination: coordinating work through high-quality communication, supported by relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect.

An intense data collection effort found that the strength of relational coordination among all the team members demonstrated ….that workers who experience higher relational coordination report better outcomes, including greater job satisfaction, less burnout, more proactive behavior, greater engagement, and greater use of competence in their work. High levels of relational coordination also predict greater worker satisfaction among colleagues in lower-status positions.

 

Relational coordination is simply the patterns of communicating and relating through which workers integrate their tasks into a whole.

 

We are all highly educated, experienced and dedicated people, so Why is coordination such a challenge among people who were well-trained and, for the most part, highly committed to their professional goals?

  1. Lack of effective communication is a big problem. One impediment to effective communication is a perceived lack of respect: if you are not listening to me, I feel disrespected and will stop communicating with you over time. Even when it is safe to speak up, people may stop doing so over time if they feel that others are not listening.
  2. Another problem is a lack of shared goals: if my goal is to complete my functional tasks, rather than to achieve (a wider goal), lack of wider focus decreases my chance of communicating well. Another is a lack of shared knowledge: if I do not understand your work, I may not understand how dependent you are on a timely response from me, or even what constitutes a timely response for you.

3) In the traditional bureaucracy which we have inherited, coordination and communication is

exercised primarily at the level of top management, which keeps frontline workers divided

within their areas of expertise and unaware of the larger picture…. functional division of

responsibility tends to overshadow the sense that each participant is responsible for the whole.

The status hierarchy found in many industries means that people tend to look down on the work done by the colleagues who fall below them. Each participant operates in his or her own bubble, following directives from above without being adequately responsive to colleagues in other functions.

4) Insecurity. the new relationship patterns that are required often disrupt our sense of professional identity—even personal identity. This is particularly true when coordination is required between roles that in the past were not expected to coordinate.

Effective relational coordination requires sharing and integration of knowledge. Relational coordination depends on the recognition by each participant that his or her role is connected to and valued by the other participants. Relational coordination enables us, as workers, to see how our tasks connect to each others tasks. This systems perspective encourages a greater responsiveness to others, building operating capacity and adaptive capacity for organizations, as well as a more engaging way to work.

How to create relational coordination:

  1. Create a relational space—a space in which it is safe to admit what you dont know and to learn from others—(being present with, listening to each other and to God begins this process,) One question that is suggested for discussion is, What do you need from others in order to be your best self?” first in pairs, and then with another pair, and then with the whole group. Organizational change does not start with the adoption of new structures, as my previous work had argued. Rather, it starts with participants changing their patterns of relationships just as they change the way they do the work. Structures cannot be overlooked—indeed, they are essential for supporting and sustaining those new patterns. But by themselves they cannot create those new patterns. Sustainable change is likely to require relational and work process interventions, accompanied by structural interventions.

2) Develop a common vision If the leader is the only one with the vision, there is no vision.”1

Many organizations are now seeking leadership that goes beyond command and control, and

beyond the single heroic or charismatic leader, to achieve a broader, more inclusive process.

3) Work side by side. Relational coordination needs the full support of leaders who understand

and respect the complexity of the work that their employees carry out every day.

Leaders working with co-workers is conducive to building shared goals with them, and to

developing the legitimacy and knowledge needed to provide effective coaching and feedback.

  1. contrast, inside legacy bureaucratic structures leaders spent their limited time \.

communicating performance standards and measuring performance.”

4) Relational leadership creates influence by developing shared goals, shared knowledge, and

mutual respect with and among the members of the team. Workers must be supported by

leaders who practice relational leadership, developing reciprocal relationships of shared goals,

shared knowledge, and mutual respect throughout the organization.

 

The performance pressures we face today cannot be addressed by workers alone, even when they partner closely across functional, organizational, and sectoral boundaries. We also need to coordinate more closely with our customers. Customers are capable of doing important work, particularly with support from skilled workers. This is called coproduction, and we have seen evidence of this emerging trend in many industries.

When we fail to engage our customers and treat them instead as passive recipients of our expertise, we are missing an opportunity to create value and thus to respond to the very performance pressures we are facing. When we extend relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect to include our customers, we are engaging in relational coproduction.”

 

Where are these such principals found in the Bible? God’s interaction with Abraham, Job, the Israelites are great examples. As for the gospels, consider the first five chapters of the gospel of Luke; Jesus was baptized by John, faced temptation, healed people and then set about to proclaim the good news of God first by himself and then by calling, training and leading the 12. It’s all there!! We are meant to walk with God and play on His team, pursuing His vision as valued members of the Body of Christ.

 

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 

 

 

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