Transactional or transformational

We are all accustomed to transactional exchanges in our lives.  We shop for goods or services and exchange money for those items.  Our entire economic system is based on a transactional approach of exchange.  The system works well and serves as an efficient means to exchange goods and services for monetary value.

Transactional exchanges are thus part of society and essential in our economy.  However, when this transactional approach is used in public service or in personal relationships, the results can be somewhat concerning.  When those serving in public office make decisions, initiate policy or promote legislation that are aimed at securing a voting block for more votes to stay in office, the motive becomes transactional as opposed to pure public service.  Public officials who move from pure public service and doing what’s in the long-term best interest of everyone served to transactional exchanges to protect or gain voter support, public service is negated for personal receipt. 

Similarly, when any of us enter personal relationships to gain something in return, we have entered into a transactional exchange.  We give so that we can get.  We seek relationships that will benefit us in some manner.  We are more interested in what we get out of the relationship than we are the individuals in the relationship.  It happens at all ages.  Youth being accepted to a desired group at school to adults finding identity with acceptance by the “right” people are both examples of transactional relationships.  Transactional relationships are always based on getting not giving.  

Genuine relationships are transformational, not transactional.  Transformational relationships are based on what we can give not what we can get.  Transformational relationships have a positive impact on others because they are based on genuine care, concern, and well-being of the other people.  Leaders in public service that focus on transformational focus are constantly seeking to do what’s best for the people they lead and serve.  They are focused on transforming lives not staying in power.  Business leaders that lead transformational lives care about their employees beyond just what the workers do for the organization.  

Transformational relationships change people, workplaces and communities.  If you want to change the culture in a small group, an organization, or a community, move from a transactional focus to a transformational focus.  Move from a focus of “getting” to one of “giving.”  A transactional exchange works great when purchasing good and services, but we need transformational focus with people to truly serve in public office, to effectively lead organizations and to have meaningful relationships that stand the test of time.  


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