Crossing Thresholds to Build Relationships and Learn About Culture

Have you ever noticed someone and wondered, “why do they do that?” Have you ever seen someone make a decision or choice and thought, “why that?” Most times I wonder “why?” I never take the chance to actually ask this question out loud and later regret it.

At Leadership Vision, we’re often asked, “Why do you do ______?” This could be people inquiring why we practice certain disciplines over and again, why we blog every week, why we work where we do, why we deliberately work in partnerships with one another, why we work in male / female teams, why we take so much time, why we are always trying to do better… etc.

Recently, I was asked by someone who noticed that we try to create opportunities to meet with our clients, even when it seems inconvenient for us. He asked, “Why do you continue to go back? Why can’t you just call them?” My answer was simple, “I believe in crossing thresholds.”

What is a Threshold?

A threshold is,

  1. a strip of wood, metal or stone forming the bottom of a doorway, crossed over when entering a building or room;
  2. the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result or condition to occur: nothing happens until the indicator / person passes the threshold.

Without crossing thresholds we can never enter into relationship and intentionality. More importantly, we can never achieve the sustainable change we are all seeking. The magnitude and intentionality of our work cannot be fully expressed or experienced without us crossing the threshold of an organization. The personal and organization indicators of effectiveness cannot be noted and enhanced without crossing thresholds.

I consider each strength a threshold. Think of each strength as an indicator of magnitude or intensity that must be engaged to trigger a certain reaction, phenomenon, result or condition. Strengths are not strong on their own, we need to engage them.

Why do we cross Thresholds? To Build Relationships

We believe in building relationships from the front of an organization to the back. From the bottom to the top. No matter who we talk to, we believe we are building relationships not only with the people of an organization, but with the organization itself.

Each time we cross a threshold, whether the actual, physical threshold of our client’s building, or someone’s office, we create a stronger relational bond with them. Each time we cross a threshold with someone personally, we are building trust. Each time we cross a threshold of innovation we create a new delivery, increasing our adaptive capacities, our intuitive responsiveness and overall effectiveness.

Strengths are an invitation to build relationships. Everyone has strength, everyone has the greatest potential when in relationship with one another. Crossing this relational threshold builds trust.

Why do we cross Thresholds? To Learn more About Culture

The organizational culture is the soil within which each person is rooted. If it is nutrient rich, people will thrive. If there is an arid, unhealthy culture, people suffer. We discover this by crossing thresholds.

Each time we cross a threshold, we step into and onto the cultural soil of an organization and we learn. Whether we deliver a proposal, a pre-engagement meeting, educational delivery, meet and answer questions midway through our initiative, provide a makeup session for someone who was absent, or any type of post-engagement meeting… we learn something more about the culture. Each and every point of contact leads to a more intentional delivery of our services.

Growth and development of strengths need the appropriate environment to thrive. When there is a bad fit, a change may be needed. This occurs by crossing two thresholds, relational and cultural.

What difference does this make for you?

Have you ever been afraid to contact someone for fear of the conversation? Have you ever chosen an impersonal communication method when an in-person meeting was possible? Have you ever met with someone and thought, “I am so glad I met with them“?

My fear of crossing thresholds came from not knowing what was on the other side. Yet I have come to embrace and practice the experience of crossing them. Crossing a threshold is a professional discipline done with a relational mindset. In the end, that is what it is about… building relationships with everyone we work with.

So, what threshold will you cross today? What thresholds do you need to be crossing?