In our projects, we use a number of relational measurement tools, including Relational Proximity Framework questionnaires, which measure the distance in a relationship between two people or organisations, enabling us to determine how well each engages with the thinking, emotions and behaviour of the other. The questions explore five different aspects of people’s experience of relationships:

Encounter

Firstly, there is communication and how it builds that sense of connectedness. Do the ways you communicate (face to face, email, text, etc) help avoid misunderstanding and create a sense of connection?

Storyline

Secondly, to think about the time and story of a relationship. Do the various interactions over time build a sense of momentum, growth, stability or ultimately a sense of belonging and loyalty?

Knowledge

Thirdly, we consider the types of contexts which shape how we are known and our ability both to read a person and to manage a relationship. Do both of you know enough about each other to manage the relationship effectively?

Fairness

Fourthly, to think about power and how it’s used and experienced. Is authority used in ways that encourages participation, promote fairness and convey respect?

Alignment

Lastly, to think about purpose, values and goals, and the degree to which they are shared in ways that bring synergy and motivation to a relationship. When examining the purposes of an organisation and its people, how deep rooted are their intentions or are the two parties pulling in different directions?

With the ability to measure relationships within an organisation, or between an organisation and its external stakeholders, we generate insightful and robust empirical data about a seemingly intangible aspect of organisations.

This process of measurement allows for a more dispassionate exploration of how an organisation is functioning relationally than is often possible when addressing specific human resource issues that arise. It can also set an overall framework of insight for the organisation in its development and decision-making.