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The Employee Experience Platform | Culture Amp
Better relationships, better culture
Lisa Beebe

Lisa Beebe

Writer, Culture Amp

In today’s fast-paced world of work, technology helps companies thrive – whether they are analyzing employee data to make business decisions or incorporating AI into their processes. But success isn’t built on technology alone. Meaningful human relationships bring company culture to life.

Esther Perel, renowned psychotherapist and Culture Amp External Advisor, will headline Culture First Global 2024 with a discussion on how human relationships help organizations thrive. Megan Rapinoe, soccer legend and trailblazer, will also join us on the keynote stage to share what she has learned about building inclusive communities – both on and off the field.

Can’t wait to hear what they have to say? To help you start thinking about these important topics ahead of our free, virtual conference, we’re sharing five insights from our keynotes on the power of relationships in the workplace.

1. Relational skills matter

At Culture First Global 2023, Esther Perel spoke with Didier Elzinga, Culture Amp CEO, about the value of relational intelligence. She describes relational intelligence as a mindset that “looks at boundaries, expectations, communication, accountability, ruptures, repair systems, creativity, freedom, the relationship between the individual and the group.” Esther emphasizes the importance of all of these dimensions of relationships as conduits through which culture is communicated.

While the workplace once considered relational skills “soft skills,” companies have begun to recognize their impact on the bottom line. She says, “We talk about psychological safety in the same breath as we talk about performance indicators.” As companies become increasingly reliant on technology, relational skills provide a necessary counterbalance.

2. Good leadership involves knowing yourself and knowing how to communicate with others

Esther sees emotional intelligence – including self-awareness, empathy, and understanding – as one piece of relational intelligence. On the Culture First podcast, she spoke about how even emotionally intelligent people aren’t always aware of the effect they have on others.

“Relational intelligence is about how you connect. It's about how you establish trust, how you overcome betrayal, how you either engage or avoid conflict. It's how you manage the interaction, the interpersonal relationships that you have with other people.”

On the HBR on Leadership podcast, Megan Rapinoe provided a great example of this. She shared how much she appreciated Vlatko Andonovski’s confident, down-to-earth coaching style on the U.S. women’s national team. He gave team members direct feedback while injecting it with a little humor.

She says, “I think probably the most important thing is to be secure with yourself because ultimately at the end of the day, we’re just people, and we just have relationships. So, if you’re bringing other BS into it, then you’re not going to get the best out of someone, and people understand that right away.”

3. Stories bring people together

In her conversation with Didier at last year’s Culture First Global, Esther mentioned that much of her work involves helping people have difficult conversations. She has learned that storytelling is a powerful way to do this because it gets people to open up. She says, “Stories are bridges for connection.” That motivated her to create her card game, Where Should We Begin?, which prompts people to share stories and get to know each other on a deeper level.

Esther sees storytelling as a way to strengthen relationships with remote colleagues. Remote and hybrid workplaces offer fewer opportunities for spontaneous interactions and mentorship, so she encourages leaders to use storytelling in virtual meetings. “At least every few meetings, once a week, start with a question. Do five minutes of storytelling. It changes the entire meeting and changes the relationships.”

4. You have a responsibility to use your voice to support others

When President Biden awarded Megan Rapinoe the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022, he said, “Beyond the World Cup titles and Olympic medals, Megan is a champion for an essential American truth: that everyone, everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Megan earned her place in the spotlight, and she’s proud of it – but she also recognizes that it’s a tremendous opportunity to do good. Over the years, she has used her platform to speak out on LGBTQ rights, racial justice, and equal pay, among other issues.

In 2019, after the U.S. women’s soccer team won the World Cup, she spoke at City Hall in New York City. She said, “This is my charge to everyone: We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less. We’ve got to listen more and talk less.”

She urged the audience to think about how they interact with others, asking, “How do you make your community better? How do you make the people around you better? Your family? Your closest friends? The 10 closest people to you? The 20 closest people to you? The 100 closest people to you? It’s every single person’s responsibility.”

Hear from Esther Perel and Megan Rapinoe at Culture First Global 2024

This May, people leaders and culture creators from all over the world will gather to share innovative ideas and insights on how to improve organizational culture.

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Join us at Culture First Global 2024

Hear from Esther Perel, Megan Rapinoe, and an outstanding lineup of thought leaders and industry experts at our free virtual conference.

Register now

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