Eighty feet per second

It is honest, spontaneoous curiosity that best conveys my interest  and concern for the client.*
(Edgar Schein)

That is was a traffic of love is sufficiently clear; but love pursued with fervour is one of the roads to knowledge.**
(Nan Shepherd)

We are increasingly adept at sharing information and knowledge but lag behind at caring.

Edgar Schein catches my eye with his connecting of curiosity, interest and care because he exposes a different kind of knowledge.  In his work with one company, Schein reflects:

‘They did not need a common marketing programme; they first need get to know one another at a more fundamental, personal level.’*

Connecting knowing and caring may be one of the greatest breakthroughs we are able to accomplish as a species.

To know something may be a portal to caring.  Nan Shepherd spins this around, saying that our love for something opens up knowledge that is worth having.

Allowing relationships to guide matters of efficiency may appear to be a recipe for trouble but Schein’s experience suggests the opposite:

‘Having outsiders engage in a diagnostic process and analysing data often turns out to be much slower than building a personal relationship with a client and other members of a system and together figuring out what is going on and what needs to be done.’*

When people are engaged and empowered through the building of relationships we engage the most powerful means of change we possibly can: people.

Erwin McManus suggests:

‘Your best future is waiting in your deepest relationships.’^

He has just asked the question:

‘Who are the people you have bound your life to whom you have declared “I am with you”?’^

What if it were possible to affect change wherever we are at eighty feet per second?

In 1852, Hermann von Helmholtz managed to measure the speed of nerve conduction.  Eighty feet per second, then, is the speed of our emotions and feelings – one might argue, it is the speed of a relationship working well.^^

In this way of working, everyone benefits, as Seth Godin points out, though he wasn’t imagining nerve conduction when he wrote these words:

‘The toll of making change is that you will be changed.’*^

(*From Edgar Schein’s Humble Consulting.)
(**From Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain.)
(^From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)
(^^From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert.)
(*^From Seth Godin’s Graceful.)

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