The Three OTR Principles

Discover how the Ownership, Transformation, Restoration (OTR) Principles will help you to transform your relationships and leadership effectiveness.


As we communicate and build relationships with others, we need to start taking ownership of our part when there is a breakdown in our communication or relationship(s). Raising the level of self-awareness on how you tend to respond to others is extremely helpful in identifying and understanding how others may perceive you – how do they typically see you or experience you in the relationship?

Consider the following questions:

  • Are the reasons why you respond as you do clearly understood, or are others negatively perceiving them?
  • Was your response gentle, patient, and self-controlled, or were you too aggressive, defensive, or even dismissive?
  • What caused you to be triggered and experience internal conflict with this person? What was the reason(s) you took offense to them which impacted how you responded?

How can we take ownership of our part?

Developing awareness of the “WHY” is crucial to solving these types of communication issues where our emotions can get in the way of both personal and professional relationships

  • Why were you motivated to respond in the way you did?
  • Why did you choose the strengths you used in this situation or relationship?
  • Why were your comments perceived negatively or differently from what you intended?

Discovering the reasons and the answer to these questions is the first step to strengthening and restoring any relationship.

Do we often perceive others as wrong for misunderstanding the real intention of what we said? When we do that, we are unconsciously saying that they are the problem. They are the issue because they misunderstood what we said. It is easy to fall into this trap because we know the true intentions behind the words we spoke. Unfortunately, when we only focus on the other person’s negative reaction (behaviour), we fail to realize the role we played in the communication breakdown.

There is a passage that says, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”

I believe that in relationships we need to stop worrying so much about the other person’s behaviours. Instead, we need to start reflecting on ourselves by asking how could I have managed this situation differently. (i.e. Owning Your Part)

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Before we can change our ways or improve how we communicate with others, we must first develop the right understanding of the reason why we are experiencing inner conflict with others.

How do we transform our understanding?

Here are some key steps to consider:

  1. Develop a greater level of self-awareness and understanding of the motives driving you to respond as you normally do.
  2. Know which strengths you tend to use often or overuse more in your relationship(s).
    • Does how you intended to use your strengths match how others experienced them?
    • Are you coming across as too strong and overbearing in your communication in this relationship?
  3. Remain open to using other strengths instead, so that you may connect better with the other person, and they gain the right understanding of the true intent behind your words.
  4. Understanding who you are, at your core, and what motivates you, allows you to develop a new level of appreciation and acceptance for the different perspectives and motives of others.
  5. Transforming your understanding and ability to manage more effectively those situations when others begin to experience internal conflict with you. Knowing how to recognize when someone has entered Stage 1 of conflict is key.

According to the Relationship Awareness Theory, there are Three Conflict Stages. Stage 1 is where communication and collaboration are still possible. At Stage 2 and Stage 3, that is when you start to lose control of things quickly and most damage to relationships can happen.

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  • Everything we do in life requires us to develop some level of relationship with someone else. When this relationship is damaged, it becomes much more difficult to move forward with a project or in life with that person. When someone has taken what you have said personally, I can guarantee you that they have just entered into an internal conflict with you.
  • Depending on the conflict sequence of others, you may not even know that they are experiencing conflict with you; but with some individuals, it is obvious. However, you may still not understand why or how to manage it effectively. The same is true for you with others, you may be triggered, and they do not even know it.
  • In either scenario, it becomes more difficult to restore the relationship when you are unaware or unable to understand the signs indicating conflict exists. As a result, we label them as having a poor attitude or demonstrating negative behaviours.
  • You probably have heard this saying: “Hurt people hurt people”
  • When someone is feeling hurt by your comments or actions, they will most likely retaliate. This becomes extremely frustrating and confusing, especially when you are not aware that you have offended them, right?

How can we restore our relationships?

  • There is an ancient proverb that says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
  • The reality is that when we experience conflict with others, it is because their feelings have been hurt or they have been experiencing unresolved conflict for a while. This normally is a result of misunderstandings or perhaps a difference of opinion that may be misunderstood.
  • Regardless, I trust that you would agree that we cannot control how others respond and act, but we can certainly control how we chose to respond to others, right?
  • Developing a level of awareness, understanding, acceptance, and appreciation for other people’s different perspectives and motives allows you to respond more productively. When we do this well and effectively, it can strengthen and restore relationships with others without the fear of experiencing conflict.

For Your Consideration

  • If you are married, a parent, or a leader, the development of Relationship Intelligence (RQ) skills could be the difference you are looking for in your relationships, personal and professional.
  • If you had the opportunity to invest in a program that provides unique methodology, effective tools, and helpful insights to restore and strengthen your relationships, would you do it?
  • If restoring and strengthening your relationships is important to you, would learn how to minimize and manage conflicts more effectively be of any value to you?

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