By Genie Z. Laborde, Ph.D.
following is the introduction to a new book by Genie Z. Laborde in
which she applies Influencing with
Integrity principles to the arena of personal relationships.)
Antwerp, Belgium, sitting in the corporate
offices of a multinational company with four top managers. They are
in buying a series of seminars from my training firm, I.D.E.A., and I
to close our deal. The corporate building is new although the office
makes the place look ancient.
The four managers range in age from the late
mid 40s and are all women. All are attractive and tastefully dressed.
well as brains got this group to the top. Sitting around the conference
they could be an ad for Business
We've finished lunch and established a low
rapport. I've traveled many miles and spent a lot of money to get here.
Anticipating a quick close, I smile and ask, "So tell me, what is it
Ordinarily, I would not have been that direct; in
this case though, I had a plane to catch. Enough with the small talk.
The top manager
looked at me and said quite clearly,
"Well, I'd like a satisfactory relationship with a man and I think so
would these others."
She swept her arm out to include the others and
paused. "Different ages, of course."
was so surprised to hear the comment coming from
nowhere that it took me a second to realize she was joking. The others
really been joking about lack of relationships yet they smiled ruefully
agreement. Finally, having missed a beat while replaying her words, and
too late to be clever, I said we’d work on that later and turned the
back to our seminars.
meeting ended and soon I was on my way. While I
was sorting out our business, my mind kept being drawn back to her
Jokes usually have a kernel of truth.
was sitting on the plane thinking about this
when I saw a flight attendant take out a key and unlock the cockpit
thought about another key and a relationship problem from the week
Are They Worth
been counseling a client about two
relationships, neither of which were satisfying or even pleasant. She
arrived at my office in California in tears. Sometimes clients are so
I wonder why anyone bothers trying to find a relationship. Efforts to make a
relationship work can be so painful. One part of me understands the
while my rational side questions the logic of seeking hurtful solutions.
it hurts a lot
Marianne, pale and fragile as a Magnolia
blossom, opened the door into my office, her customary cherries and
complexion was tinged with green. Her confident competence as financial
consultant had also disappeared.
In a shaky voice she said, "I think I'm going
to throw up. Could you keep me the key to the rest room?" I gave her
key and suggested she take a deep breath.
“Tell me what’s going on?” I asked.
She eased into her chair and said, "I've been
feeling bad all day. I have this lump in my throat and can't seem to
deep breath. I feel so sad. I just want to cry."
"So cry then."
Three minutes later the rest room key was back on its
hook unused. Marianne was breathing deeper and was ready to talk.
voice steady, she began, "Cliff doesn't
bother to understand me."
this not being understood is a familiar
"Yes. Jonathan never understood me either and
then he left me for that tramp."
told me that was the best thing that ever
happened to you."
"Yes, but it still hurts. Sometimes I think no
one will ever understand me. Ever, ever, ever."
that's why you're sad, because being
understood it is not an attainable goal?"
"Yes.” She paused. “It's kind of silly, isn't
it? No one can really understand anyone else anyway. Why does it matter
"Maybe even more than understanding you want
approval and love."
"You're right. I think it's approval. He was
talking down to me again. He doesn't know shit about business and he's
about raising capital in Japan in this patronizing tone."
know you intimidate him with your superior
experience in a field he needs to understand and doesn't. The
is a simple defense. We've talked about this before."
know. But it's still hurts."
doesn't have to hurt. You might try
understanding him. And forgiving him for his insecurities."
Marianne flashed a small smile of recognition and
then continued. "Well, if that were the only thing... It's not."
doesn't even clean his apartment before he
invites me over."
that enough of a reason to give you an
upset stomach and an entire day of malaise?"
of course not. You know what else? His
apartment is a mess. He's a mess. And yet I need a man and he's the
only one on
"Maybe you could broaden your horizons. How's
the nausea now?"
gave a rueful snort. "It's gone. When I
realize how angry I am, the nausea disappears."
least you have a choice."
I recognize a pattern? Have we been here
"Have I made any progress?"
not sure. You tell me."
"Yes. We progressed from my bitching about my
ex-husband to bitching about my current man friend. Isn't that
"Sort of. At least you are closer to the
present. How's the lump in your throat?"
"Smaller. But still there. Just like my
dissatisfaction and my anger."
"What's the focus of your anger? His messy
I think I'm angry at myself for ignoring
my needs and trying to make it work."
"You'll take him the way he is?"
I want to stop putting myself through
hoops trying to make a relationship work. That's exactly what I did in
marriage and here I am still doing it. Its been six years since he told
was in love with her and I'm still denying that I have needs. I want
to fill my needs." This last was said with real determination.
"This may be progress. How about filling your
I can't. I need a man."
can find another man or clean up Cliff’s
I can keep coming here and complaining to
don't know about that. If I don't see
progress, I'll suggest you take six months off from therapy. All talk
action gets boring."
"Would you really do that? Abandon me?"
"Only if I thought I wasn't making a dent in
the essential problem. It's not permanent. Just a recess to see how you
your own. Or you could find another therapist."
are making progress. When I first started,
I couldn't admit I had needs. Now I know I do. I just can't find anyone
"Until you learn to make yourself happy, I
doubt you'll find anyone else who is willing to try."
really don't know how to make myself happy.
I was happy when my husband was happy. That's as close as I ever came."
"Well, you were married for 16 years. The party
line made your husband happy and the reflection of his happiness was
all you needed. Did that work for you?"
"No, of course not. Although there were
comforting things about our marriage relationship."
course. You thought you could count on him
and trust him. Right up to the time you discovered you couldn't."
least I know I can't account on Cliff. He
won't even clean up his apartment even though I asked him to. He's so
deny me. I give him business advice he couldn't get anywhere else and
knows he needs it. Coming from academia, those wolves are going to eat
alive. He knows I'm valuable to his new business venture. He's asked me
on his board of advisers, but he won't go out of his way to do anything
"How about all those gifts he gave you?"
"Those were his idea, not mine. Actually, he
really can't afford them. He never should have bought them."
he can't show how he cares about you in his
own way. Only the way you want. By scrubbing and cleaning, right?"
just don't understand. I've finally realized
I have needs in a relationship. I want those needs filled. Now. He's
stupid. He needs a mother, not a partner. He threw it all away because
couldn’t make a small accommodation. With a little investment of his
time and a
little Ajax, he could have had me, my financial advice and my love."
"Do you really love him?"
"I thought I did. Now I don't think so."
snapped back to the present. People were settling
in for the long flight. Murmurs and conversations rose from the seats
me. I'd been so caught up in my memory that I had missed the take-off
Soon I would be home. With many more relationships to sort through as I
about the question Marianne had left me with. Is relationship seeking
addiction with equal parts of pain and joy?
Try something new
When I began this book, it
was going to be a ‘How-To’ book on improving relationships. At that
time, I was
counseling couples, including a psychiatrist, a CEO, a Ph.D., an R.N.
other professionals. They were all experts – except in relationships.
relationships were rocky and I wanted to synthesize the process to help
get more pleasure and less pain from their relationships. We discovered
their skills increased, their relationships improved. Whether these
relationships were primary, maternal, fraternal, a journal or whatever
matter. Each set of problems was solvable when we focused on the
the communication process.
The bane of most relationships is
our human tendency
to keep doing the same thing. Whether or not we get the response we
pattern of communication is repeated. Thus this consistent application
unsuccessful communication keeps us stuck in unsatisfactory
If you have a relationship that
is not pleasurable,
why not try something new? Try new words, new expressions and new
get the behavior that you want. Connections currently mired in
be changed with application of new behaviors and development of new
Relationships – no matter how
bizarre – have
specific similarities. All relationships have communication methods.
communication follows a process of ebb and flow – tides of impact that
beyond the words. Knowledge and control of these processes can improve
mastery of communication and subsequently enhance your relationships,
how frustrating they may be at present.
Some people remain inside
relationships. Men and women have different brains and dynamics
(although it is
more than gender differences that create weird, illogical, unsatisfying
relationships). Yet the simple truth is that you cannot change others.
only change yourself.
But if you change yourself, you
can still make the
magic happen because if you change, the other must also change. Their
response no longer has a basis in kind. We humans are proven to respond
appropriately. And therein lies our hope for change. If you try
in a relationship, the other must respond in a new way.
(Continued in column 2)
Seminar to be in Palo Alto
Communication presents the three-day training
Influencing with Integrity
Street, Palo Alto, Calif.
For more information
visit the Web page,
email, or phone 800.228.4069
in the Spotlight
trainer Jesse Cortez (left) caught by
a newspaper photographer at a San Jose, Calif., charity ball.
Interview with Kay
Kay Best, longtime IBM and I.D.E.A.
trainer, now retired in South Carolina.
had been a
dancer most of my young adult life. In
need of a job and with no demand for ballet dancers, I took my two
to upstate New York and moved in with an aunt of mine who was only six
older than me. Her husband was an IBM
programmer, and these were in the days of the 360, the big computer. I'm going back now to 1967.
I started out on the assembly line on the
second shift, literally putting tops on bottoms, and I ended up on the
executive payroll. I had a career after manufacturing in personnel and
personnel advising. From there I went
into IBM marketing. I was the first
female rep in the office products division. Then
my first management position was with corporate
then I ended up as Manager of Management Development at World Trade
Headquarters in White Plains, so it's quite a success story.
In 1987 I was a senior
instructor in management development in IBM at Kingston, New York, and
I was given
a mission to find something that was done either internally or
negotiation skills. I requested
materials for this purpose from all education departments at IBM. These materials had arrived at my desk.
Here's the scene: my
office door was open, and I sat at my
desk with all these pages of presentations on negotiations spread out
me. I'd read them all, and felt so
frustrated I wanted to cry. My face was
scrunched up, trying not to succumb to tears. The
stuff I found that IBM had done would put a new
walked down the hall
past my door, and my expression stopped him hold.
“Kay, what's wrong?”
I gestured toward the papers, “I
have to put together a training from this — and there's no way I can
audience awake with any of it.”
“Hold on a minute. I
have something for you.” He returned with
a copy of Influencing with Integrity, which had been a takeaway
class he'd taken, Sales Training for Planners.
This wasn't Genie's class, but
what they did was give her book, Influencing with Integrity, to
participants. I read it over a weekend,
then I gave it to my boss to read, and I said, “This is the way I think
Later I found out that IBM
already paid $20,000 for Genie's video lease, but nobody knew where the
videotapes were stored. With Genie's
help we finally located them in Atlanta.
Two weeks later I was in
California going through Genie's class. I
went through Influencing
Integrity, but then I also went through the class for trainers. Then she flew in from California at her own
expense, and stayed with me when I taught the first class to certify me. And it was a very long, uphill battle that
we fought. The director of education
thought it was too expensive. He had
absolutely no background in training whatsoever. He'd
been an assistant to the Laboratory Director. We
got rid of him after a year.
From 1987 until
I retired in
1992 my best guess is that over 4,000 IBMers were trained.
Since then another 8,000 have been trained. .
called the class Communication
Excellence. Later we changed the
name to Influencing with
Integrity. At one time I think we
had 23 IBM
certified trainers around the country, and I know we had several from
and there was another one, I think from South Africa.
In 1997 IBM had so many requests for more training to
follow Influencing with
Integrity that IBM
requested Genie to create a one-day follow-up
II, this course created a
sensation with advanced skills never before
taught in IBM.
Number one point, Influencing with Integrity
was THE most
popular class for employee development, and they ranked the class, with
being a hundred percent, right around 99 percent , and the same for the
addition to IBM we trained
people from Metropolitan Life, Minnesota Power and Light, and I did
training with Carol Colone at Chase Manhattan in New York. I
still get emails from some of those folks
about using the skills now, and I retired in 1992, so we’re talking
We had these little rituals to
close the class. Each person would say
their most important insight from the three days, then the group would
a circle to say goodbye. Except we
“said” good-bye nonverbally by one person moving around the inside of
circle, standing briefly in front of each person. Sometimes there
were hugs, but not always. Sometimes simply smiles of
appreciation. The group had, of course, bonded after three
days, so there was high energy to be had in this good-bye scene.
memorable time this stranger
appeared in the circle, collected a bunch of hugs, then walked out the
door. Afterwards the group asked, “Who
said, “I don't know. I guess he just needed an energy infusion.”
the time I read the book, Influencing
with Integrity, I knew that that
was absolutely the way to go — in
communications, in negotiations, and whatever interpersonal
I have used these skills now for all these many years. I've had
an awful lot
every class I taught
mother was born in Texas
Grew up in Arkansas
At the age of sixteen she left
Rarely since has she looked
She spent some time in
A first marriage, children
Been there and done that
My mother the southern belle
Relocated to California
She found a speech therapist
To cure her of that accent
But if you really listen you
can still hear
When her Os become As
And her Rs are dropped
My dear becomes my dea
You all becomes y 'all
Gs are replaced with
Darling becomes darlin,
She calls me sug and
Phrases she pulls out of a
When we visit family
She drops into her accent
Familiar with an old friend
Slow and lingering it drawls
You hear everything that
represents the south
Flavored temper hot like
Inspired by the crawfish she
Large and deep the Mississippi
Bitter confederate pride that
Whiskey and Bourbon
All flow into her speech
If you really listen you can
These hidden treasures that do
Her past and her
My mother the southern belle
She can walk away
But the South will never leave
Kat Griffin is a senior at the
University of Puget Sound in Tacoma,
Washington. Her mother is Genie Z. Laborde.
continued from column 1)
Taking charge of the direction of
processes can lead to new relationships, often more satisfying than in
past. Usually, new relationships are lighter since they are not
the steamer trunks of
old disappointments. Of course, new relationships
have the depth, trust andcomfort
relationships so improving a
relationship may be the right answer for you. The strategies and skills
here make either and both possible.
Having both enjoyed and suffered
different relationships myself and with a background in educational
I have worked with many interpersonal strategies that are not commonly
feel an obligation to organize these strategies and present them. For
14 years this
book has gathered new material that it has never found an end. Recently
realized this inability to close the book is because I was trying to
definitive tome on improving relationships, rather than admitting that
matter how much I learn about relationships, some issues remain 'beyond
While the approaches I illustrate
to improve relationships, there are still mysteries I do not
understand. Nor do
I even want all the stardust to disappear. As we develop more skill in
care of ourselves while deepening our ability to love, we can
stardust mysteries without trying to dispel them.
Now I know that no one can write
a hoot book on
relationships. People are too different, there are too many feelings,
backgrounds, too many shades of gray for a one-size-fits-all
anyone can do is to offer ideas and techniques that will strengthen
communication and in turn lead to happier relationships.
People have often told me that
they don't understand
what had originally attracted them in many of their relationships. Was
phase of the moon, the season, the tides, the time of month or the
another? The chemicals remain a mystery. All we know is that we were
spellbound. And we liked it. And now we'd do anything to get that back,
the same or another.
Spellbinding and it's fragile
beauty is part of the sweetness of life. My goal is to enable you to
spend more time there.
(Continued in column 3)
Why 3 Minutes a Day?
By Genie Z. Laborde, Ph.D.
hundred years official
government-sanctioned learning took place in a classroom with an
instructor talking and students, perhaps, listening while taking
notes. Outside reading was assigned and a little, very little
usually, discussion occurred inside the classroom. Differences of
opinion from the instructor were not encouraged.
Of course, this was the recognized
learning, part of
an approved curriculum. In my graduate education class most of us
agreed that our most important learnings, about people, about life,
occurred in the hallways and after class was over. These
learnings were the ones that as adults we used all day, every day.
Technology has changed the classroom
type of learning, though the hallway learning is still going on.
The hallways may be anywhere, not just in schools, colleges, and
This educational model was still being used
when I entered grammar school and high school and college and graduate
school. While working toward a Ph.D. I was lucky to find a
professor who wanted to try something different. He had gotten a
grant for innovative education from the Ford Foundation to do something
different in education.
Yet the format was pretty much the same.
True, we often sat in circles rather than in rows, and the professor
did allow us to talk, but still the formula was—the teacher tells you
and you regurgitate the information on written exams.
The Internet now offers a new approach.
Streaming video with an assignment a day so that you can enjoy
practicing a very
small behavior change. No studying. No exams. No
regurgitation. Try a new behavior and you, the student, can
decide whether it works or not. Then you can choose to tell me
about it—or not.
New paradigm. What do you think of this?
My First Day Back
By John Racanelli
I'm writing this letter
for two reasons. The first is to thank you for a truly remarkable
experience. Like everyone there this past weekend, I've attended
seminars and trainings. And I've led workshops intended to help people
change the way they approach their lives and work. Though I
call myself a true "human potential junkie" (not yet, anyway), I've
definitely spent my share of time on such pursuits. That said, I
you to know that--without a shadow of doubt--I have never been through
an experience with the kind of positive, life-changing impact that
these three days have had on me. OK, maybe one: birth
to my second reason. Yesterday, my first day back in the office,
have been the most productive business day I've ever had (in many
senses of that loaded word). I came back to a pile of work:
proposals, emails, voicemails, snailmails...all the usual dreck.
first I looked at it all and went into my standard hyperactivity
mode--dashing from this to that every five minutes, flitting from topic
to topic, grabbing for the ringing phone, spinning around to check the
incoming email, eventually just spinning... About a half hour
this, overwhelmed and frazzled, I thought I heard a voice inside me
saying this isn't the right way, there's a better way. I turned
saw a big blue circle on the
floor in the middle of my office. I
up, closed the door, closed my eyes, took myself to my Ideal Resource
State, said my word, and stepped into that circle. After a
could have been an hour--I stepped out and felt a sense of peaceful
clarity, like the room had changed somehow.
Not more than 30
minutes later the phone rang. It was a long-time client, for whom
only done a few minor projects in recent years. He asked if I
available to do a major branding and marketing roll-out for his
company: a name change and launch into a whole new line of business. It
looks like about 3 months of work at 20-30 billable hours a week,
followed by a long-term sustaining effort. Maybe two hours after
I got a call from a San Francisco-based client whom I've been pitching
a workshop project to for the past few months. She said my
was nearly perfect and with a couple small changes, was ready to sign
While all this was just
great, the high point came when I decided to reward myself by slipping
out at 4:30 to go surfing. Even that
experience was richer and fuller than any other time I can remember…
The sun was bright and warm, the water cool, clear and crisp. A
seal popped up 10 feet away and floated there, as if to say "glad
you're here," and for a most enjoyable hour I surfed waves whose tops
were aflame from the setting sun. As I reflected on many new
discoveries from our weekend seminar, I kept laughing out loud--which
soon had a bunch of other surfers laughing, too. As I left the
gazing at a red sun setting deep into the sea, I could hear the lonely,
rhythmic clang of the sea buoy's bell, and feel the distinct crunch of
the sand between my toes. The whole
experience felt liquid and
yet. When I got home there was an urgent phone message from a
and client whom I've been helping out on a pro-bono basis as she
transitions to a new position as Executive Director for an Kenya-based
wildlife foundation. She was calling to say they'd accepted the
proposal I'd helped her write, and now she needed me immediately to
help her write the implementation plan. She went on to say that
that she was employed, she insisted I charge her my full customary fee
for the work.
By 10 pm, I decided I'd
better turn the phone off because I really couldn't take on any more
business in one day .. .
It was a phenomenal and
exciting day--and I can only attribute this amazing level of congruency
to the magic of the previous three. I can't wait to sit down with
to brainstorm the ways we might take IWI and your other programs
further afield. The world needs this knowledge and these
more than just business. For my part, I feel that if I can add
one more human to the ranks of those whom you've help find these
intrinsic talents within themselves, then I will have helped make this
Thank you again,
you godspeed and all the luck. I look forward to
together with you soon!
John Racanelli is president of Racanelli
Message From Bernie
"As an NLP
Trainer I would like to offer you some feedback on the 90 day
Influencing Skills via computer seminar.
have found them to be very well done. A tremendous amount of
effort must have gone into the making of the sessions.
"They are very easy to follow and for beginners or someone who is
relatively new to the skills, they are long enough
to give people the experiences necessary to learn, and short enough not
to overwhelm them with too much stimuli.
"Both male and female participants are
used across a range of ages so as to tell the student that no matter
what your age or gender you can learn. Another point here
is that the people in the videos are behaving normally in a relaxed
environment that does not look staged, allowing the student to learn
how it is done in the real world rather than set up and exaggerated /
commentary dialogue complements and supports the visual learning being
displayed on screen. Metaphors and
symbols intertwine to make learning easier. A good example
of this was the use of the visually bright target when talking about
outcomes and staying focused (as opposed to thinking haphazardly about
what you want).
"Opportunities to practise the new skills using older tapes were given
when we could go back and practice what had been done over the previous
twelve days. Demonstration of body language relaying win – win
was evident when two people were having a conversation (we could not
hear the dialogue but could see that one person was saying this is a
shared winning opportunity).
me it creates a connection and a comfortable environment to move
forward with curiosity and ease. I am enjoying the learning
Z. Laborde training Migrant Family Liaison representatives at the Santa
County Office of Education.
continued from column 2)
you've decided you want a new or improved
relationship. What techniques can you use? In this book, I present
help attract you to build or change a relationship. Twelve chapters
variety of new behaviors you can test. Understanding how
processes data and
perceptions can lead to new insights about your memories and beliefs.
Relationships that are stuck are discussed in Chapter 1.
Knowing about your own
is discussed in Chapter 2. This analysis is useful in determining which
can be satisfied by
a central relationship and which needs are filled
rapport is a skill
you probably already
have, yet it can invariably be improved as demonstrated in Chapter 3.
The importance of communication and
your health is correlated in Chapter 4. The role that words play in our
relationships and how to change these words for more satisfying
are presented in Chapter 5. The patterns that destroy
shift these patterns are the focus of Chapter 6. Twenty new skills for
relationship conflicts are listed in Chapter 7, while natural rhythms
subject of Chapter 8.
Discovering how you have ‘sensed’
the world and
selected your own viewpoint is the purpose of Chapter 9. Chapter 10
instrument you can use to learn about yourself and understand others so
conversation and intimacy can flow easily. The energy consumed and
in relationships is discussed in Chapter 11. And the greatest strategy
of them all,
‘make them right’ is presented and defended in Chapter 12.
The mysterious pull that entices
us to go, wait,
suffer, leave and return again does not lend itself to precise answers.
skills are ideas for you to use and represent ideas that have worked
thousands of others. No two people will use them the same.
Relationships are more than the
sum of their parts.
This book can only hint at the heights available when you let yourself
pull of attraction. Much more is possible when you practice the art of
have the same number of hours
in a day and we
all have choices about how to spend them. Those who choose to spend
spinning relationship webs of many colors – with hues different in
and texture, each one distinct – weave an energy tapestry that becomes
beautiful with time. You can create a blanket of love to be wrapped
yourself and those you love for warmth and comfort. Developing the
discussed in each chapter will enable you to choose wisely and
choices that create the most beautiful tapestry of all.
Z. Laborde. All rights reserved.