03 May

Thought Leadership Day: The Relational Agenda for Transforming Society

St_Catharines_College_Cambridge_night

15th September 2017
St Catharine’s College
£100 – Partner
£120 – Non-partner

Government and business are rapidly evolving due to the social impact of information and communication technologies. The focus on historical data to predict future performance and risk factors, for example, are increasingly irrelevant as the pace of change accelerates. Time pressures on managers continue to increase due to access to information and communication possibilities, so that relationships within and between organisations ironically are coming under greater and greater pressure.

Relational Thinking is a social philosophy which seeks to understand better the nature and value of relationships, how relationships can be measured and how a relational focus can improve performance of companies, schools, public and private sector organisations and government itself. Relational Thinking also speaks to job creation, the Brexit decision, the future of Europe, international peacebuilding and global finance.

What changes if relationships become an end as well as just a means? Our thought leadership day will make it possible for participants to access this new framework of thinking and measurement, and the way it is being applied already across a wide range of sectors and organisations. If you have any questions, please email Joshua Hemmings at j.hemmings@relationalresearch.org

Register here

The Programme

Participants will not be tied down to one track but will be able to go to sessions from both tracks. The sessions will be designed to be highly participative so that those joining us for the day have the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and reflections.

8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Coffee
9:00 – 9:10 Introduction to the dayBeris Gwynne
9:10 – 9:45 Where is the Relational Thinking movement going?Dr Michael Schluter CBE
9:45 – 10:45 Plenary: Introduction to Measuring Stakeholder RelationshipsTim Young (TBC) and Clive Parry

 and

 Chronomics

John Ashcroft and Michael Schluter

10:45 – 11:30 Coffee 

Track 1

Track 2 

11:30 – 12:30

Relational Companies

Speakers TBC

Relational Schools

Dr Rob Loe

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:30

Relational Finance and

Job- Creation

Tim Jones

Relational Europe

David Lee

2:30 – 3:00 Coffee
3:00 – 4:00

Relational Government

John Ashcroft, Michael Trend and David Strang

Relational Peacebuilding

Beris Gwynne and Jeremy Ive

4:00 – 5:00

Plenary: Feedback and Panel Discussion: Next Steps to Grow the     

Movement

 

 

28 Jun

Brexit: Strengthen our Relational Infrastructure

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Last week the people of the United Kingdom decided, by a narrow majority, that the country should leave the European Union. How that is going to happen, and the consequences of that step, are not fully clear at the moment.

However, since the Brexit decision has many relational consequences, the Relational Thinking Network would like to make its position clear.

The Executive Committee acknowledges that this is a testing time for the British, the Europeans living and working within their borders and for Europe as a whole. In that context we would like to affirm the importance which should be attached to relationships between people of different nations, regions and communities.

Through the work of our Members and Partners we seek to strengthen the relational infrastructure that holds us together, based on the loyalty and trust that form the social fabric of our communities and organisations.

We call on all people of goodwill, and their political representatives, in Britain and across Europe to be vigilant in protecting those relationships, by all possible means to strengthen them and, seek healthy co-operation and shared goals, instead of allowing feelings of fear and insecurity to create distrust and division.

On behalf of our British members and partners we would also like to emphasize that we welcome our EU neighbours who have come to live among us. We wish them to contribute to building a British society that balances liberties with obligations, competition with cooperation, diversity with unity, privacy with transparency, rights with responsibilities, innovation with continuity, and individuality with community.

23 Jun

Orlando: How our Ideology is Killing us

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By Robert Hall – 

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.
John Stuart Mill

Orlando now joins San Bernardino, Paris, Fort Hood and many others. Attempts to understand these atrocities focus on the ideology and theology of the killers – issues around ISIS, radical Islam, and hate crimes. But those issues beg a bigger question. How have our own ideology and theology immobilized our ability to respond? We lament that the enemy does not change their ideology while we steadfastly hold on to ours, leaving us unable to act. In light of that old adage, “It’s not what happens to you, but what you do about it” – we are failing.

It is our country’s own ideological divide that makes many of today’s headlines. Presidential candidate Donald Trump accuses President Obama of stupidity, indifference or “something else.” Obama goes on a tirade denouncing Trump’s statement about Muslims. Trump retorts that Obama is angrier at him than at the Orlando shooter. Our gravest risk is not that terrorism will destroy us but that it will provoke us to destroy ourselves.

We keep asking: When are we going to wake up and take action about – fill-in-the-blank. For some the blank is filled in by stricter gun laws, limits on immigration, more effective mental health programs, or more aggressive police or military action. But as a nation we are immobilized by the depth of our disagreement. Our response is heightened worry, but not heightened action.

Our inability to agree on a holistic, strategic response means that we eventually become a part of the problem – but at least it is a part we can do something about. We have met the enemy and it is not just guns, bad guys, ineffectual military efforts or dysfunctional mental health system. The enemy is also us and our broken relationships that prevent constructive engagement and thus constructive solutions on behalf of future innocent victims. The first one or two incidents – shame on the perpetrator. The last ten, shame on them AND on us and our disabled relationships.

We may not be able to control “them” but what to do about “us”? That should be a different story but it requires leadership.

It is time for leaders and followers to stop asking: How do I convert others to think like me? The more constructive question is: What about your ideology or theology would you be willing to repurpose in order to reach a shared solution that would save lives and save our Union? What would you be willing to concede, not by forfeiting your personal beliefs, but in support of a shared higher-purpose solution for the country.

Until leaders and followers humble ourselves regarding our own imperfect beliefs, we will remain stuck. Let me suggest three keys for thinking more relationally about ideology.

Recognize broken relationships as our greatest long-term risk.
No matter how you disdain violence, loss of innocent lives, and any opposition you consider the enemy – ISIS, gun lobby, religious extremism, immigration policies – we are stuck unless we come together enough to craft solutions.

Years ago General Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff commented on the sectarian violence in the midst of the Iraq war:

“If the Iraqi people as a whole decided today that, in my words now, they love their children more than they hate their neighbors…this could come to a quick conclusion.”

If we could decide we love those future people who will be gunned down and blown up more than we hate our fellow citizen’s solutions, that would be the starting point.

Place relationships at the center of ideology and theology. The preamble to the U.S. constitution begins with these words: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”. Our Constitution – the supreme law of the land – seeks union. As a nation of individuals with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and needs – the founding hope was union and relationship as the best means to serve and benefit from our diversity.

Theologically, we all have beliefs, be they faith-based or secular. I am a Christian and since that is the largest group in this country, let’s start there. In Matthew 22 Christ was asked what is the greatest commandment. His answer was relationship: Love your God with all your heart mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. Then he added: All the law and all prophets hang on these. The Bible is the supreme law of Christianity and Christ described the law as a means to a higher purpose – relationship.

To disagree is human. To deploy our differences as weapons trained on each other is self-destructive. Making productive relationships our highest priority is crucial to creating broader, more holistic strategic solutions.

Sacrifice for the purpose of relationship. Sacrifice is the acid test of commitment. If productive relationships represent higher purpose, we must be willing to sacrifice some of our favored ideology if we are to reach common ground with those who have their own favored ideology. Remember John F. Kennedy’s famous question: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” Said differently, ask not what you can get others to do for your belief, ask what you can do to “sacrifice” for shared belief that increases safety for all. Assault rifles, immigration policy, more invasive law enforcement — it is a fool’s errand to ask others to sacrifice what they hold sacred if we are unwilling to also. The arrogance of our self-righteousness is daunting – I am righteous and of God and thou art an evil idiot. It is the ideology we disdain in our enemies and it must cheer the hearts of those who would kill us to see its disabling effect on us.

Our enemy’s beliefs and connected actions threaten our safety and our way of life. Our failure to connect our beliefs to the higher purpose of constructive relationships blocks our attempts to respond with holistic, strategic action. It is time to Relationship-up!

This was originally published on 17/06/2016 by the Huffington Post and has been re-published here with the author’s permission.