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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Paradoxical ‘Distance’ in Closeness

“Sometimes it is the person closest to us who must travel the furthest distance to be our friend.”

~Robert Brault.

We wonder why companies we work for cherish more the wisdom of the consultant who knows less about the business than the ‘home grown’ views of the ones born and raised within the company.

This phenomenon seems to resonate at the same frequency as the quote of Brault’s at top. And we know, all too often, it also reveals itself in the home, especially regarding issues very close to the heart of one person; the other agreeing perhaps, but not with the same level of intensity and passion. There’s going to be conflict about ‘this,’ for sure and certain!

One Possible Explanation Involving ‘Trust’

Whilst it’s not always the case, the gap appears to be one of trust, often as a response to felt biases that consultants and those not so close don’t very often fall, or won’t be swayed, for.

In a similar way, without drawing too long-a-bow, Jesus talked about prophets and how far they had to travel to redeem the honour they deserved:

“Only in their own towns, among their relatives and in their own homes are prophets without honor.”

~Mark 6:4 (TNIV).

There is also a secularised version of this biblical quote, that we don’t often value the prince (or princess!) in our own castle. Families ‘see through’ our pretence, perhaps, but it often goes beyond this too.

Both the prophet in their own town and the prince or princess in their own castle suffers the same ignominy. They lack the credibility that a fuller value of trust would bestow on them; again, biases are the key... if not actual biases, felt biases.

In the Home...

There is a reverse bias at work here, of course. Trust, or lack thereof, to remain unbiased, appears to be the key to the extension taken, to place the trust further afield. Another family member is sought; a friend is called; a consultant is brought in—trust is otherwise protected for a more assured sense of objectivity.

As partners and family members, what can we do then, especially when we’re actually the best-placed person to help?

We can accept the fact first and foremost; we’re not being treated unfairly, just normally—to the very predictable standard known most often by human phenomena. So, in this way it’s not actually unfair—just typical.

Secondly, and it helps to do the first thing first in any event, we can work on being less biased and on jettisoning our more vicarious views, building our credibility as level-headed and even-hearted people no matter how close we are to the situations we want to be more trusted with.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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