Greetings.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how to build and maintain great relationships with customers.  It's essential to the success of every business. But what about building and maintaining great relationships with colleagues and team members.  Isn't this just as essential?  In fact it is, because working together is key to driving innovation and delivering greater value to customers.  It's also key to building work places that are energized, engaged and collaborative.  Yet all too often we let poor or damaged relationships at the office limit our ability to work together in order to create the best new ideas and provide a remarkable experience for those we have the privilege to serve.

But it doesn't have to be the way.  And we might even find inspiration for turning poor working relationships around by applying a simple notion from a somewhat unlikely source.  No, I'm not thinking about our buddy Dr. Phil or any of the other popular TV therapists.  Instead, I'm thinking about those geniuses at government agencies who have figured out how to reduce bad behavior by offering amnesty.  

Yes, getting citizens to come clean by forgiving their past transgressions.  And making a fresh start on their relationships.  Through tax amnesty efforts that allow delinquent taxpayers to have their penalties waved as soon as they pay up.  Through programs that grant forgiveness to deadbeat parents once they pay their child support.  Or initiatives that enable gun owners to turn in unregistered weapons without consequences.  And a range of other offers that allow citizens to atone for their misdeeds tied to a promise to be better moving forward.

So why can't we apply this idea to the workplace?  To encourage every employee to identify a bad relationship and commit to repairing it?  To enable every one of us to atone for our part in a broken relationship in exchange for taking a fresh start and building a more productive one.  To create a culture of second chances in place of a culture of mistrust.  To give every employee the opportunity to move on in trying to work together to achieve our most essential corporate objectives.  Starting today.

Sound too simple?  Then it might just work.


We win in business and in life when we figure out how to work together with purpose and compassion.  And when we figure out how to rebuild our essential relationships.