changingminds.org

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

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

How Shared Purpose Can Keep Arguments from Becoming Personal

 

Guest articles > How Shared Purpose Can Keep Arguments from Becoming Personal

 

by: Lisa Earle McLeod

 

The two men glared at each other from opposite sides of the conference table, looking like mortal enemies, and in some ways, they were.

Steve, the younger of the two, had his hands perched on the arms of his chair, clenching his fingers on the edges as if he were ready to leap into battle.

Bill, at the age of 50, looked like a war-weary soldier. He’d been through this type of fight before and he knew it wouldn't end well. He loosened his tie, let out a sigh, and leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms and looking over his glasses, as if daring Steve to speak first.

It worked. Steve took the bait.

“My team can't survive on this budget,” Steve shouted. “Are you trying to kill us?”

Bill looked at Steve with the dismissive disdain one might have for a chubby toddler stomping his feet for more cake. Steve was always whining about not getting enough. Didn't he understand?

Bill had bigger issues to contend with, he reported to the top. Steve’s petty demands revealed what Bill had long suspected, Steve only cared about his own department. He wasn’t seeing the big picture. He just doesn't get it.

How many times have you found yourself saying that about a colleague? Or a fellow volunteer, or even your spouse?

“He or she just doesn't get it” is the ultimate insult because it means: I understand what’s really going on, but you, the lesser informed, less intelligent being, are dragging us down.

The case of Bill and Steve is based on an actual interchange between a CFO and a sales manager. But it could just as easily have been two spouses arguing about a kitchen renovation.

Which person is right? It’s hard to say. They’re both doing the very best they can to meet their own goals. Therein lies the problem.

Life is filled with competing agendas. Salespeople have different goals than finance people. Analytics think differently than expressives. Teachers have different objectives than administrators, and men and women view the world through totally different lenses, a fact that becomes ever more apparent to me as I age.

In the macro this is a good thing. But in the micro it can be annoying as all get out.

Everyone believes their agenda is the most important. In a way they’re right, their agenda is the most important thing. To them.

If you want to leverage the power of different perspectives (versus being derailed by it) you need a shared purpose.

In the case of Bill and Steve fighting over budgets, if they had started the conversation saying, “We’re both in agreement, we want to win more customers next year,” the argument wouldn’t have become so personal.

A common purpose ignites higher-level thinking, which leads to discussing a wider variety of options. The fact that Bill and Steve have different perspectives would no longer be a negative. It can become a positive when both perspectives are in the service of their common purpose.

The same technique works in personal situations. Whether you're bickering with your spouse about kitchen renovations or a coworker over budgets, establishing a common purpose at the start of the conversation keeps you pointed in a positive direction.

Next time you find yourself on the other side of a “He just doesn't get it” debate, try reframing the conversation in the context of a larger purpose. You’ll be amazed at how quickly people respond when they understand that you both want the same things.

 


(c) Lisa Earle McLeod

Lisa Earle McLeod helps organizations win the hearts and minds of customers and employees. She is the author of three books included the best-seller, The Triangle of Truth: The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Resolving Conflicts Large and Small, A Washington Post Top 5 Book for Leaders.

She is an international keynote speaker and consultant who has been seen on The Today show and featured in Forbes, Fortune, CEO Read and The Wall Street Journal. You can reach her at www.LisaEarleMcLeod.com.


Contributor: Lisa Earle McLeod

Published here on: 22-Jul-12

Classification: Development

Website: www.LisaEarleMcLeod.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
* 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 2002-2016
Massive Content — Maximum Speed