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Feb 20, 201812:23 PMLeader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

Why do we have so much trouble finding common ground?

(page 1 of 2)

“Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.” — Dale Carnegie

As I watched the State of the Union speech a few weeks ago, I noticed the usual posturing by the two parties. Republicans stood and applauded at all the appropriate places, as Democrats sat sullen-faced (some really sullen faced!) and unhappy. The last several State of the Union speeches were given by a Democrat and the roles were reversed. What I noticed this time around was even more entrenchment on the part of both parties. What was dramatically missing was even a hint of common ground, or in many cases even common courtesy.

This behavior is not exclusive to those in politics at the highest level. I know of an individual in a social group who refuses to even talk with another member because of a “minor” disagreement. Most have heard of the dispute between the Hatfields and the McCoys that lasted for many years, and maybe still does. It seems that many of us have lost that gracious ability to agree to disagree, and then try to figure out a way to resolve whatever issue is at hand. It seems to me that common ground, that place in the middle where two opposing points of view can finally come together, has gotten smaller and smaller. In all too many cases it has disappeared completely.

Resolution of problems is no longer the goal. The goal is to dig in and unequivocally defend MY POINT OF VIEW! As we see on a national level, and as can be observed locally and personally, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach a mutually agreed upon decision when this posturing takes place.

Earlier in my career, my role was the real estate guy for a restaurant company. My job was to find new locations, go through due diligence, and negotiate deals all over the country. When I was just getting started I really stumbled at the negotiation table. I thought my job was to bring in the absolute best and only deal for my company. What I found was that I lost some deals because of this point of view. I am not even suggesting that you should give away the company store when negotiating. I am strongly recommending that some serious thought needs to be given to where common ground can be found. It is only in this way that a conversation, not a confrontation, can take place.

(Continued)

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Known for his Dale Carnegie training expertise, Terry Siebert is writing to inspire leaders to reach their greatest potential. Leadership, today more than ever, may mean the difference between closing the doors or opening new markets. Every month, he'll post help with mindset, business tools and more.

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