Your own Nourishing Conversation – Designing alliances

Today’s post is about the power of ‘designed alliances’, it was prompted by a video clip that was sent to me by a friend (yep, there I go shamelessly stealing again!), who was making a point along the lines of how the couple in the movie have such a powerful understanding, connection and trust.

As coaches we design alliances with our clients in regard to our client requirements, what expectations there are and how we want to be in relationship, in turn we ask that our clients create alliances with their work colleagues, partners and children with the view that there are true benefits to not take things for granted.

I realize that the term ‘designed alliance’ sounds like jargon; and I don’t expect you to sit your 9 year old down and explain that you need to ‘design an alliance’ but what we are truly urging is open communication and more mutual appreciation and understanding in relationships. The reason being if there is a mutual understanding there is much less room for disappointment, for values to be ignored and boundaries to be broken. Let me give you an example; you plan to go for dinner with a significant other and when you get there the restaurant is closed, what could occur is bickering about who should have called ahead and made the arrangements resulting in resentment and looming blame, quite a way to sour what was supposed to be a great night out.

Instead the following could have been designed – that as partners you take turns in making reservations and there is a clear system in regard to who’s turn is next, alternatively you may design that not making reservations is key to your spontaneous lifestyle and that the ‘mutual understanding’ is the intent to have fun whatever happens. This way when you both arrive at the closed restaurant instead of blame and disappointment you stick your agreement and just find somewhere else to go and have fun doing it!

Sound simple? Well for some areas in our lives it is, especially with loved ones that we have been with for some time where we have learnt from our experiences together. Some designed alliances almost seem unspoken or were possibly said out loud once and are now part of the groove, but be careful here, it is always worthwhile to check back in to see if the agreement you believe to be in place is still working for the other person, maybe they would like a redesign and haven’t known how to bring it up and even if you discover that the arrangement is still working for them, through making the inquiry you will have just made them feel appreciated and seen, how great is that!

When you stop to think about it what do you want to redesign around? Is there someone with an annoying habit in your home or workplace? Did you ever design an alliance with that person in regard to that ‘thing’? We all have them… being always the one to put out the trash, old tins of cat food being left in the refrigerator, the burden of making all the plans. Maybe now is the time to say something and redesign how you want to be around these little things that all start to add up and create tension. Possibly a great thing to design would be to have a sit down once a month to catch all the things that are going really well and not so well and talk about how to make it even better!

Personally I would like to have designed an alliance with Steve Jobs this week. He didn’t make it very clear that for him to enhance my technological life and still have time to launch his new 3G phone he would actually have to pause my email service for 36 hours. He did however send me notices to apologize and because we have an understanding around the fact he does have an impeccable record for delivering great products I chose to roll with the punches on this one but it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to have discussed it first.

So back to the video….I was trying to imagine what alliance this incredible couple designed and while I don’t speak Chinese I believe it could have been something along the lines of….

– Prima Ballerina:“I have been thinking… I would really like to incorporate a pirouette on pointe whilst standing on your head during our Swan Lake performance would that be OK?”
– Male danseur: “Er, OK, that sounds very cool, but how do we want to be with it if it goes wrong?”
– Prima Ballerina: “Good question, thank you for asking… um, well, lets look at what could go wrong.. I suppose I could fall, I could hurt you as I fell, we could both get really hurt and not be able to perform and also risk the income of the company and our jobs…”
– Male danseur: “You are right those things could happen but we are both incredibly talented so it is much more likely that we will get tons of kudos and get our performance on You tube so IF those things were to happen let’s plan; firstly let’s increase our insurance so we are fully covered. Two, let’s get some other safety measures in place, maybe we choreograph this so other members of the company can be on alert and break your fall and I will not hold you responsible for hurting me. In fact let’s promise now that if the worst were to happen we will make sure to keep open lines of communication so both our feelings will be heard. Oh and I suggest we train an extra 10 hours a week.”
– Prima ballerina:“All sounds good, I love the part about open lines of communication, let’s ask someone to remind us about that if we are mad at one another, maybe we ask third frog man from the left to hold us accountable. I do however want to counter offer the 10 hours a week to 8 hours as we already work so hard and in order to keep the focus I would like to have some time during the week to myself too.”
– Male danseur: – “Agreed!”

Beside yourself with curiosity and can’t wait to watch the video?

….well here it is…it is 7 minutes long, but you only need to watch through to the end of their performance which is around 5 mins 40 secs. Be marveled and consider the differences that you could make in your life by designing an alliance and creating a mutual understanding BEFORE an event occurs or habit becomes annoying. It could be the most nourishing conversation you’ve had yet…

CLICK HERE TO WATCH – Swan Lake with a twist…

Don’t go trying this at home…

© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative

Would you like to read about nourishment in all its guises twice a week? We issue ‘Nourishing Conversations’ to our subscribers every Monday and Thursday, click here to subscribe by email or if you prefer to use an RSS reader you will find the orange chiclet up on the right…


1 Response to “Your own Nourishing Conversation – Designing alliances”

  1. 1 When is a team really a team? « The Red Barn Cooperative Trackback on August 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm

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