A Touch of Reciprocity Magic
When you think and act reciprocally, almost immediately three magical things begin to happen – Firstly, you feel good about yourself and those you work with. Secondly, they feel good about themselves and those they work with,
and finally, just when you least expect it (because if you expect it, it won’t happen), those that you work with start thinking and acting in ways that help you to be successful.
Our Reciprocity Principle
For us, Reciprocity simply means ‘a focus on the other’: our ability to move away from an exclusive focus on our own perspectives and seek to understand the perspectives of those we are in partnership with. We call this our Reciprocity Principle.
In terms of partnership success, it works like this...
We have our own ideas about any number of particular aspects of partnership and that’s great. However, we recognise that for the partnership to be successful, it is critical that we understand the thinking of those we seek to be or are in partnership with.
Reciprocity in Practice
'Other-discovery' is the practice of Reciprocity . At the simple level, the practice involves asking those we are in partnership with two very straightforward reciprocity questions…
“Please, tell me what YOU think?” and “Why is it that you think this way?”
The complexity of the practice becomes apparent as we seek to maintain this ‘other’ focus. In other words, it's simple enough to ask the questions. It's a much more complex practice to actually care about and use the answers we get to shape our future thinking.
The ability to act reciprocally is fundamental to the on-going development of in-depth shared understandings and shared agreements: the foundations of sustained partnership success.
Reciprocity Practices are the conscious actions we can take to help us maintain our ‘other-discovery’ mindset.
Maintaining a mindset that is focused on ‘the other’
- Seeking to explore and understand what others find meaningful
- Using all interactions with others as the key source of enriching our own incredibly limited perspectives
Approaching all conversations with no result in mind, but with the sole intention of developing deeper inquiry, wherever that leads
- Concentrating on asking questions and developing new insights rather then providing answers and solutions
- Celebrating difference in perspectives rather than promoting ‘one best’ point of view
- Suspending our certainty and listening to the views of others with an open mind and open heart, rather than getting trapped in defending our existing positions
Continually creating opportunities for allowing the emergence of collective insight
- Seeking to create a ‘collective sensibility’ in conversation where the thoughts, ideas and resulting actions belong not to one individual but to all together
- Encouraging all to see how their own unique perspective can make a valued contribution to the collective wisdom of the group