Submitted by John Lord on September 9, 2015 - 1:19pm
The Centrality of Relationships

From New Story Group Newsletter - Belonging: Inspiring Community -

 We live in a society where efficiency and technology often dominate. Decision-making tends to be rushed and can easily be bound by rules and institutional procedures. Many non-profit organizations and governments are governed by bureaucratic approaches that put procedures ahead of relationships. We need to recognize that people want deeper relationships rather than shallow transactions. 

 The desire for deeper relationships is in part the wish that we all have to belong. The Indicators Project of the New Story Group has begun to identify indicators of belonging. Not surprisingly, relationships are central to many of the indicators. Take the indicator “People are welcomed and acknowledged through authentic hospitality.” To bring this indicator alive, we need welcoming spaces in our services and programs. We need to listen deeply to the ‘other’ person rather than pre-judging or imposing rules. We need to extend invitation, so that people feel included in the decisions that affect their lives. And, we need to notice when others may need support to be involved in community.

 There is a growing movement around the world to insert relationships more emphatically into the daily work of human services, government initiatives, and neighbourhood renewal. Research in the UK on “The Relational State” is getting traction elsewhere. This work indicates that government and human services are much more effective when relationships are at the core of the work.  We know that citizen participation and engagement creates better solutions than if government or human service organizations act on their own.


The personal work that many of us are doing is modeling the centrality of relationships. The challenge now is to move this relational work into the systems and services that permeate so many people’s lives

John Lord




Thanks for the blog and the important insights John.  I look forward to hearing more about the New Stories Project Idicators Project. It is very timley and important.