The Importance of a Cocoon of Warmth

I think my husband must have wondered where I had spent my day because when I arrived home I was bubbling with energy.

It didn’t help matters that when he asked me about my day I explained that I had spent most of it in a very long meeting that involved the challenge of selecting pilot communities for an innovative initiative focused on encouraging residents to invest locally.

When my husband continued to look at me with a quizzical and somewhat skeptical look, I struggled to explain, ultimately realizing that it was the group itself that was so special.

Very eclectic in its makeup, those at the table represented a variety of backgrounds in business and social entrepreneurship, as well as a nice balance of males and females, left and right brain thinkers, and young and more mature.  As a collective they were all very authentic, intelligent, knowledgeable, and respectful of one another’s opinions. Throughout the day, leadership was shared and collaborative, serious, and yet rather fun.

The experience reinforced for me how critical relationships are to innovation and progress.

Wherever we have warm, trusting, and open relationships, all kinds of surprising possibilities seem to open up to us, facilitating and unlocking positive thinking and actions in ourselves and in others.

When we are in situations where we can speak more honestly and freely, we can be more of ourselves, more creative, productive, and willing to listen. We are also probably more likely to speak up even when we disagree, and perhaps even be more generous with one another.

It also seems we are less afraid of making mistakes and, as a group, are perhaps more receptive to learning from them.

Of course, the opposite is true as well.

If relationships aren’t strong within an organization, if there is a lack of trust, a coldness, fear, a lack of clarity, or we hide things from one another, most of us simply close down and stop speaking up. As a result, we stop learning and growing. We are also likely to feel less valued or perhaps diminished in some way and are therefore less likely to be positive and creative.

Why is it so critical that we understand the importance of relationships?

If you think about it, organizations are really only a collection of people working together in a purposeful relationship. Our individual relationships will need to be strong and healthy if our organizations are going to be strong and healthy enough to achieve our collective organizational mission.

It’s not likely any of our organizations, businesses, or even communities will be successful unless we acknowledge that building relationships is a key component of our daily work.

If we can build a cocoon of warmth, we are ensuring a fertile ground for ideas and directions that can be gestated and nurtured. It is the warmth that will break down barriers, dissolve rigidity in our thinking and actions, and allow people to tap into their respective gifts.

When all is said and done, relationships that reflect warmth, integrity, and trust have the potential to remind people of their essential humanity and open them to one another and to the potential of change and transformation.

Posted on 05-13-12


Hi Brenda,

I appreciate you so much for your wisdom and ability to put the “real goods” into words (printed or spoken).

It was extremely invigorating to have the time with you on Thursday, and I look forward to somehow working more with you as this project gains traction. I see such a natural fit between all of the work you’ve done with the ACE communities and this project.

Have a fabulous day!

•Posted by Dan Ohler  on  05/14/12  at  02:30 PM

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