Breaking Cycles: Hard To Do But Worth The Effort

Change is always hard. Changing the way people talk with one another has its special challenges. One is the power of reciprocity.

When things are going well, reciprocity is a force for good.

You say something kind to a colleague; the response is pleasant in return. A history of kind exchanges inspires a warm feeling towards someone. Before you say a word, you’re inclined to say something nice.

When things are going badly reciprocity becomes a roadblock. Hurtful remarks inspire the cutting responses. A history of unpleasant interactions leads people to expect more of the same. People hear criticism in comments that would be judged objectively as neutral.

So, when relationships get going in one direction or another, the momentum is towards more of the same.

Breaking that cycle requires a moment of reflection at the very least. It takes a moment of tranquility to get beyond a reflex response. Creating that moment is tough. It’s much easier to go along with the momentum than to turn the tide of the conversation.

Part of the power of the CREW process is that it makes creating that moment a mission that you share with others. When it comes to relationships, you’re not on your own, by definition. So, it makes sense to share the goal of building a better workplace community.

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