changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Are you an additive person or a subtractive one?

 

Guest articles > Are you an additive person or a subtractive one?

 

by: Lisa Earle McLeod

 

It started with stuffing. But then, as Southern family fights tend to do, it went from stuffing to sweet potatoes to full fledged character assassination.

It’s the kind of fight that sears into your soul, because you know that it’s about a lot more than just stuffing.

It’s about them discounting your traditions and belittling you every chance they get.

Happy holidays.

For every person who is thrilled to be with their family or in-laws, there are others who are bracing themselves for criticism, sniping, and simmering tension.

The conflicts often seem trivial: Stuffing - cornbread or white? Sweet potatoes- marshmallows or carmelized nuts?

The way people approach seemingly small disagreements about food reveals a lot about the way they approach life, and whether or not they’re additive or subtractive thinkers.

Here’s how the Southern Sweet Potato Wars played out.

My friend Shellie was about to spend her first holiday with her new husband’s family. It was a second marriage for both of them. Shellie had two children so she was used to hosting her own holidays. But this year, they were going to be part of the husband’s family tradition.

Every the gracious guest, and excellent cook, she called to ask what she could contribute. She offered to make her grandmother’s favorite stuffing recipe. No, she was told, “We don’t do stuffing, we do dressing.”

OK, then how about a sweet potato soufflé? She had a great recipe with a carmel glaze on top. No, one of the sisters always makes one with marshmallows.

The attempts went on until Shellie gave up. There was not one single thing she could add to the dinner. You can imagine how welcome she felt.

Another example of how subtractive thinking puts a barrier between you and other people.

How hard would it have been for the mother-in-law to say, “Great, we’ll have two kinds of stuffing and sweet potatoes this year?”

I don’t know about you, but I have yet to attend a holiday dinner where people complained about too much food.

But subtractive thinkers assume that new traditions and ideas will detract from their plans and traditions.

“Let’s go here” or “Can I bring this?” is often interpreted as an assault on the original plan, rather than adding to it.

Additive thinkers take the opposite approach. The more ideas, the better. Got a new tradition you want to add? Great, we’ll work it in. We can do Hannakah and Festivus this year.

Do you have some suggestions for improving our processes? Fabulous, we’re always looking to make things even better.

Additive thinkers like their own ideas, but they’re also open to additional perspectives.

Subtractive thinkers interpret new ideas as an attack on their own. They don’t just like their ideas and traditions, they’re emotionally attached them and will defend them against all potential interlopers.

If you’re reeling at the horror of Shellie offering to bring marshmallow- less sweet potatoes to a holiday dinner, it might be a sign that you could be a bit more subtractive in your own thinking.

And, dare I say it, if someone extends a holiday greeting to you that doesn’t match your ethnic or religious views, just go with it. They’re not attacking your tradition, they’re just trying to enjoy their own.

It’s a big planet. There’s more than enough room for all the good will, sweet potatoes and stuffing that anyone wants to bring to the party. Peace on Earth.

 


Business strategist Lisa Earle McLeod is President of McLeod & More, Inc. a consulting firm that specializes in sales force and leadership development. A sought after keynote speaker she is the author of The Triangle of Truth, a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book for Leaders. www.TriangleofTruth.com Copyright 2011 Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved.


Contributor: Lisa Earle McLeod

Published here on: 11-Dec-11

Classification: Sales, Leadership

Website: www.TriangleofTruth.com

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |

 

You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Look inside

 

Please help and share:

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument
* Brand management
* Change Management
* Coaching
* Communication
* Counseling
* Game Design
* Human Resources
* Job-finding
* Leadership
* Marketing
* Politics
* Propaganda
* Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
* Sociology
* Storytelling
* Teaching
* Warfare
* Workplace design

Techniques

* Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
* Conditioning
* Conversation
* Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
* Happiness
* Hypnotism
* Interrogation
* Language
* Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
* Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
* Questioning
* Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
* Self-development
* Sequential requests
* Storytelling
* Stress Management
* Tipping
* Using humor
* Willpower

Principles

* Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors
* Beliefs
* Brain stuff
* Conditioning
* Coping Mechanisms
* Critical Theory
* Culture
* Decisions
* Emotions
* Evolution
* Gender
* Games
* Groups
* Habit
* Identity
* Learning
* Meaning
* Memory
* Motivation
* Models
* Needs
* Personality
* Power
* Preferences
* Research
* Relationships
* SIFT Model
* Social Research
* Stress
* Trust
* Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list
* Theory types

And

About
Guest Articles
Blog!
Books
Changes
Contact
Guestbook
Quotes
Students
Webmasters

 

| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

© Changing Works 2002-
Massive Content — Maximum Speed

De