by Rob Husband
We decided we needed to pause, to take time to think about our work, the business and ourselves, so Andy and I spent a three night retreat in North Wales at a place called Trigonos. We followed a rhythm of starting each day in meditation and then walking as we talked, covering all sorts of things ranging from the nitty gritty of finance to, what we would call, our soul work. The experience made me grateful for the privilege of working with Andy and for the quality of the relationship we have.
An associate once said to me, ‘the relationship you have is not normal, you know’, and she meant it in a complimentary way (we think). We know she was right; it is pretty rare to find a business relationship that is so open and supportive, and it has made me reflect on what has led to this.
Our priority, our purpose, is first and foremost the relationship we have, not the success of the business. That is not to diminish the importance of Space2think because it has enabled us to support others and do the work we want to do, but the relationship between us is its foundation. And the quality of our relationship did not just appear overnight. It has taken work. Before we joined together in Space2think we would meet every six weeks or so, on Cannock Chase and support each another in thinking about our own practices and helping each other integrate ourselves and our work. We have continued to do this over the years, just like we did at Trigonos.
This is not to say we never have tension or go through uncomfortable times. We do! We talk about our feelings and we are open about the impact of the other person’s decisions and choices. We are often candid, and there is push and pull between us. Sometimes I push and Andy pulls, and sometimes the other way around. We often have conversations about what we have learned from experiences, but we try to avoid blaming each other.
At Trigonos we were walking on the beach one day. The tide was out and had revealed a small island of rock that would be covered at high tide; we walked towards it as we had a conversation that was, at times, uncomfortable. It was robust and we challenged each another as we made our way along the beach. Eventually we got to a place in our conversation where we felt okay – we felt safe – and as we relaxed, we noticed that our feet were sinking into a patch of soft sand, we weren’t sure how deep down we would sink – we then tried to find firmer ground only to realise that the firm ground was only fleeting and after a few steps we were sinking again. We laughed at the irony of reaching a safe place in our talk and walk and then finding that we were at times sinking!
In the way Andy and I work together there is a dance between stability and flexibility. What allows us to adapt and change – the flexibility – is that we share a strong sense of purpose – the stability. Rather than our purpose being to stimulate business growth, our priority is to keep the core strong. What is the core? I guess when all is said and done, through all the years we have worked together, we have always played good music and we’ve danced well. That’s the core.