Systems designed primarily to bring people closer…such as couples and families, need the support of strategic behaviors if they are to be effective and nourishing. A highly loving family that cannot manage hierarchical differences is often dysfunctional: mismanaging child rearing, children, finances, etc. Similarly, task relationships that focus too heavily on the achievement of interpersonal closeness, trying to achieve strong intimate alliances, will have trouble in getting work done effectively, particularly in making difficult decisions. (Sonia M. Nevis, 2003)
Systems designed primarily to accomplish work, such as business organizations and schools, cannot be effective without the presence of intimate behaviors. Effective strategic systems rely on exchanges of thoughts, ideas, information, and feelings. On the other side, a family that is highly effective in getting work accomplished but lacking in emotional closeness – acting too much like a work system – is likely to fail in fulfilling its purpose of providing emotional nourishment and profound connection. (Sonia M. Nevis, 2003)
When strategy and Intimacy are balanced, tasks are accomplished and depth of connection increased. Interventions that can assist a relationship to become more balanced include paying attention to how the relationship would be identified at present: strategic or intimate and then introducing an authentic opposing suggestion or strategy.
*adapted (Sonia M. Nevis, 2003)
- Name ways in which you use intimacy in your professional relationships.
- Name ways in which you have used strategy in your personal relationships.
- Can you think of a professional relationship that could use an intimate intervention? What could you do in order to strike the balance?
- Can you think of a personal relationship that could benefit from a strategic intervention? What could you do in order to strike the balance?
- How could your family life benefit from strategy?
- How does your culture impact what is appropriate intimacy in the workplace?
- How do you balance the intimate and the strategic with your clients?
- How does raising your client’s awareness of strategic and intimate behavior benefit them in achieving their goals?
- What is the role of intent vs. Impact in relationship to strategy and intimacy?
- What is the role of trust in intimate relationships? In strategic relationships? How can you build trust in strategic relationships? Is it different from building trust in intimate relationships?
- What is the role of the culture of your client in striking the balance between intimacy and strategy?
Sonia M. Nevis, P. S. (2003). Connecting Strategic and Intimate Interactions: The Need for Balance. GestaltReview , 7 (2).
Wiersema, M. T. (1993, Jan-?Feb). Customer Intimacy and OtherValue Disciplines. Harvard Business Review, 84-?93.