Why think Relationally?
Democracy and capitalism have brought us a long way. So why do they produce so much unfairness? Why so many crises? And why are we struggling to reach our social and environmental goals?
The answer is that our global economic and political structures make unrealistic assumptions:
- They treat people mainly as decision-making units.
- They see money as the most effective measure of value.
- They reduce relationships to political or economic connections.
If we want to survive the challenges of the 21st century, we will have to work with people as they are, not as political and economic theorists want them to be.
Relational Thinking opens up a genuinely new way of reforming what governments and organizations do. It also provides a compass for individual action.
So where does it start?
1. People are more than individuals
Our Western ideals of individual freedom and individual rights are huge achievements. But they don’t go far enough.
It’s not our individuality that makes us human. Nor is it our membership of a social class. Yes, we are all individuals who make decisions – but we are also individuals uniquely and inseparably connected to others. Learning, personality, success, even identity are all relational products.
Start from there, and you make possible a different kind of world.
- Relational Education puts relationships at the center of schooling and the curriculum.
- Relational Democracy develops politics in way that goes beyond occasionally putting a cross on a ballot paper.
- Relational Justice asks how we can use relationships to empower victims, rescue criminals, and reduce crime.
2. Wealth means more than money
We’ve got into the habit of measuring things with money.
But having money doesn’t correlate with happiness in any straightforward way: slum kids can be happy while rich people can be miserable. And though Western society isn’t short of cash, it is suffering a severe decline in relational capital.
This imposes huge costs. Yet governments struggle to address relational issues directly because governments deal mainly in budget allocations. Instead they focus on short-term growth, often sidelining the relational infrastructure on which growth depends.
Relational Thinking takes a broader view of value.
- Relational Poverty explores the relational causes of poverty and seeks innovative ways of changing the welfare system.
- Relational Pensions and Relational Lifestyle bring relationships to the center of personal priorities and planning.
- Relational Finance looks for forms of financial connection based on shared equity rather than debt.
3. Society needs more than connections
This is a crucial issue. Markets and media are great at connecting us. But connections aren’t relationships. They don’t bring people close enough relationally either to trust one another or to cooperate optimally in a crisis.
For Relational Thinking the goal isn’t for people to try harder at being nice. It’s to change the kinds of linkages we create through our laws, our organizations, and our personal decisions.
- Relational Business looks at company structures, and how things like limited liability influence the behavior of stakeholders.
- Relational Analytics provides companies and organizations with the Relational Proximity FrameworkTM for analyzing and improving stakeholder relationships.
- Relational Healthcare and Relational Justice explore how Relational Proximity can be used to improve outcomes in key institutions.
What can you do?
Relational Thinking is an exciting and innovative way to tackle the challenges human society faces in every part of the world today.
BECOME AN INDIVIDUAL PARTNER. Harness the power of Relational Thinking for your own relationships, and explore its implications for your own areas of professional expertise.
BECOME AN ORGANIZATIONAL PARTNER. Align your organization with a global movement that’s using relationships to build better organizations and stronger societies. Also consider using the Relational Analytics metrics and tools for customer relations, investor relations, Relational Risk Assessment, team development, and corporate governance.
FOR SOME ORGANIZATIONS …
If the major part of your organization’s activities are concerned with Relational Thinking, and if your organization agrees with our goals and values, and wants to be part of the core team of organizations pushing Relational Thinking forward, why not consider applying to join as a Member? Just contact us using this form and we will get in touch with you. Please note that all applications for Organizational Membership must be considered by our executive committee and that acceptance is not guaranteed.