Monday, June 28, 2010

Co-Dependency in Life and Business

Sorry I have been distracted. I have been traveling lately. I've attended several meetings of small business owners and franchisors. I had an interesting moment yesterday. I started to think about relationships. Most lasting relationships start as a passion, and then grow into love. Interestingly many continue to evolve into co-dependence. This is not always a bad thing, but many times it is. As the relationship matures, lives get intertwined. There are bills and houses and cars and children. All of the sudden many couples find themselves needing each other. Neither is capable of supporting all the needs of the relationship alone. You hear terms like "stayed together for the children". In good strong relationships the passion may fade, but the love matures into a friendship that has many of the attributes of co-dependence without the baggage.  One party is willing to subordinate their need for the good of the relationship. They see this as a good thing, not a compromise. Bad relationships disintegrate into keeping score. Co-dependence becomes the ball-and-chain that bonds the relationship. Trying to control a co-dependence by keeping a ledger of who did what, when and how will only breed anger and resentment. The relationship either dissolves or continues in desperation (some quiet, some not so quiet).

So from a business standpoint what's the deal? Small business owners start a relationship with their business that is based on a passion that grows to love. Let me expand that by saying most working people start a career based on a passion that develops into a love for what they do.  Careers and businesses can continue to evolve (or dissolve) into co-dependence. People find as responsibility grows and expands there is a need to bring other players into the mix. Money is required to fund this expansion. The natural order of things becomes complex. Co-dependence is natural. The key, just like in human relationships, is to not let the co-dependence enable bad behavior out of fear of uncertainty.

When there is a co-dependence there is a loss of control. You can't run your business or your work group without other people. The co-dependence may not be on individuals, but processes that need staffing. This loss of control creates uncertainty. Uncertainty is the main driver to stress. This stress will suck the life out of any organization or individual. You want to reduce stress in your life, analyze and act upon the underlying uncertainty.

Letting people do things that are not good for them or the relationship out of fear of losing them is not the answer. Allowing a bad process or culture to continue because there is a fear that changing it will produce adverse reactions is compounding the problem. When bad relationships fall apart there is a retrospective understanding that bad behavior was enabled out of fear of loss.

If you are dealing with a lack of satisfaction in what used to be the passion of your life, accept the existence of a co-dependence. Get to the root of that co-dependence. Deal with the underlying uncertainty. Relying on others is how you leverage ideas. Living with the fear that accompanies loss of control is not the answer. Understand the co-dependence and reduce downside risk. Clarity is the by-product. Clarity reduces stress. Create a friendship with your business. Like all friendships there is give and take that creates trust.


Glen Campbell, "Wichita Lineman" "… I need you more than want you and I want you for all time…"




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Judge not a book by its cover.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .