It has been said that if you’re not learning, you’re not growing, and if you’re not growing you’re dying.
I’ve written about Lana Simko before. At age 62 she and her husband were happily retired living in their hometown near their two children and four grandchildren.
And then her husband started receiving phone calls asking him to consider employment on the other side of the world in a culture that is nothing like their own.
She was so certain that would never happen that she would laugh and walk away each time he took a call. And then one day she realized that he was seriously considering this seemingly crazy move.
This post is the second post in a series on the challenges and opportunities that come from disagreement. The first post was titled, What if… YOU disagree with someone? –Do you lob word grenades, judge and flee, or engage and learn?
This post is a guest post from Dan Forbes and filled with additional feedback from people who attended the Lead with Giants Tweet Chat on this topic a week ago.
Dan Forbes is a Certified Executive & Leadership Coach, Speaker, Facilitator, Workshop Leader, and founder of Lead With Giants, LLC. He helps individuals, teams, and companies elevate their Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ®) to build trust, effectiveness, performance, and results.
What If We Disagree? Seventy-five leaders gathered in the #LeadWithGiants tweet chat on Twitter to explore this topic. I’m the tweet chat host and Chery Gegelman was my guest host.
During the course of the chat we tweeted out 10 questions for participants to answer. Our audience included educators, coaches, consultants, business owners, and others who love the topic of leadership. It resulted in over 5 million tweet impressions.
Q1 – What if we disagree?
When my husband said we were asked to move to a giant sandbox on the other side of the world my stomach churned so hard I had to sit down.
How was this possible? We said we would go ANYWHERE in the world except – THERE! Scenes from movies and the news melded with my own fears and questions were fired off so rapidly my husband could not reply.
A “yes” wasn’t possible if I could not change my thinking:
- From the losses to the possible gains.
- From the challenges to the possible opportunities.
- From fear to faith.
In 1999 I read Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for the first time. One of the stories in that book that captured my attention was about David Lilienthal, a man that was commissioned to head the new Atomic Energy Commission.
He brought together a very diverse bunch of influential individuals. And although they had a huge agenda and the press was pushing them for results he believed that efficiency was not the first priority – synergy was. So he wisely invested time facilitating relationship building, causing them to deeply understand each other’s history, goals, passions, and perspectives and transforming a group of individuals into a passionate team.
This is how Stephen Covey describes the result: “The respect among the members of the commission was so high that if there was disagreement, instead of opposition and defense, there was a genuine effort to understand. The attitude was, “If a person of your intelligence and competence and commitment disagrees with me, then there must be something to your disagreement that I don’t understand, and I need to understand it. You have a perspective, a frame of reference I need to look at.”
Have you got a list of values that you hold so dearly, that they actually define who you are?
And I used to really struggle with those that didn’t share those values.
As a child, I would passionately argue my convictions and not listen to those that did not share my opinions. (Because they were simply wrong!)
As a young professional, I thought it was horribly rude for people to roll their eyes in disagreement – but the shaking of my head as others spoke – screamed how wrong they were. (And how unwilling I was to listen.)
Hi! My name is Chery, and I am a recovering opinionista! (…Emphasis on recovering.) Somewhere along the way, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror, and I didn’t like what I saw.
So I began to listen more and talk less. (Not because I didn’t have opinions, but because I didn’t know how to share them and really listen.)
Along the way I heard personal stories from people who had opposing views about some of the values that I hold most dear. And I began to really consider what it was like to walk in their shoes and even wonder if I’d experienced what they had, if I would hold those same views.
In most cases, my convictions did not change, but my understanding, compassion and creativity increased: