Chapter ThreeThe Relationship Truths

Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.

Margaret Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science1

Spiderwebs are both the strongest and the most fragile structures in the world. Pound for pound, spiderwebs are stronger than steel, yet they can stretch to nearly 40 percent of their length. They can also break with just the touch of a finger.

The construction of spiderwebs was an apt metaphor for relationships long before the World Wide Web became our new medium for meeting and greeting. Relationships can be resilient or tenuous. They can stretch when tested, or they can break at the first sign of heavy winds. Joie de Vivre faced a hurricane in the post-9/11 world.

With my industry in a downward spiral, I felt like the prey caught in a web, stuck in circumstances that felt almost insurmountable. Fortunately, my nightly dose of Maslow gave me some hope that by tapping into basic human motivation, Joie de Vivre could capitalize on the relationships it had built over the years and create even stronger ones to transcend the challenges of the moment. By focusing on the construction of our relationship web with employees, customers, and investors, I came to discover the Relationship Truths, or three pyramids, that became the foundation of our success story.

Using the principles ...

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