The Importance of Relational Equity

At Force Scaling, we believe building and maintaining strong relationships based on mutual respect, trust, and fairness is crucial to success. We call this concept “relational equity,” and it guides our approach to working with clients, partners, and team members. This certainly has been an cornerstone of us growing by referral only in our first couple of years.

Relational equity is like a bank account – we make deposits by showing appreciation, expressing gratitude, being honest and transparent, listening actively, and being supportive. These deposits build up a reserve of goodwill we can draw on when we need help. On the other hand, when we violate the norms of a relationship or fail to meet expectations, we are making withdrawals that can erode trust and respect.

Why is relational equity important to us at Force Scaling? First, it helps us to build healthy and fulfilling relationships with our clients, partners, and team members. We strive to create a positive environment that fosters trust, collaboration, and mutual support. This enables us to achieve our goals, overcome challenges, and feel a sense of belonging and connection. We are not an outsider, as much as we become part of the team we serve.

Second, relational equity allows us to handle conflicts and disagreements constructively. By having a strong reserve of goodwill in our relationships, we can address misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and other issues in a way that repairs any damage and satisfies all parties involved.

Finally, relational equity contributes to our overall well-being and happiness. We know humans are social creatures and thrive on positive relationships with others. By investing in our relationships and fostering relational equity, we create a supportive network of colleagues, partners, and clients that can help us navigate the ups and downs of business and life.

If you would like to foster more relational equity in your own relationships, we suggest following these tips:

  • Be respectful: Treat others with respect and dignity, regardless of their background, beliefs, or opinions. Listen actively and try to understand their perspectives, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Communicate openly and honestly: Be transparent and honest in your communication with others. Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and respectfully, and be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Never attack a person, focus on the desired behaviors and outcomes.
  • Show appreciation: Take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of others. Celebrating wins means a great deal to most of us. Express gratitude for their help, support, or kindness, and let them know you value their presence in your life.
  • Be reliable: Follow through on your commitments and obligations. Be dependable, trustworthy, and avoid making promises you can’t keep.
  • Be fair: Treat others fairly and justly, avoiding favoritism or discrimination. Consider the needs and perspectives of all parties involved.
  • Repair damage promptly: If you make a mistake or violate the norms of a relationship, take responsibility and make amends promptly. When you are wrong it is ok to say I am sorry. Apologize sincerely, listen to the other person’s feelings, and work together to find a solution that addresses their concerns.

For an example, of how to apply relational equity with a positive outcome, let’s say you’re working on a project with a colleague, and you’ve noticed that they seem overwhelmed and stressed. You could apply relational equity principles by showing appreciation, being supportive, and communicating openly.

First, you could show appreciation for your colleague’s hard work and dedication. You could say something like, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate all the effort you’ve been putting into this project. I know it’s been tough, but I’m impressed by how much you’ve accomplished.”

Next, you could be supportive by offering to help in any way you can. You could say something like, “If there’s anything I can do to make things easier for you, please let me know. I’m here to support you.”

Finally, you could communicate openly by expressing your concerns and asking how your colleague is doing. You could say something like, “I’ve noticed that you seem really stressed lately. Is everything okay? How can I help?”

By applying relational equity principles, you’ve built up a reserve of goodwill in your relationship with your colleague. This reserve can help you address any issues that arise in a constructive and supportive way. In many cases, you have helped them remove an obstacle or barrier as you help them talk it out.

In this example, your colleague might feel heard, valued, and supported, which could lead to a positive outcome such as increased motivation, improved productivity, and a stronger sense of connection and trust in your working relationship. More importantly, for us at Force Scaling we have likely just helped a client, fractional executive, or peer to execute excellence while teaching someone how to fish. This will likely help reduce future capacity challenges with an investment in energy and effort today.

At Force Scaling, we believe relational equity is key to building and maintaining healthy, fulfilling relationships. We strive to practice these principles in all our interactions, and we encourage you to do the same in your own relationships.

-Paul Boyd, CEO