The Civility War
Q: Can people who disagree with each other -- who pale at even compromising with each other -- come up with and execute a successful game plan? (Any resemblance to the new Congress is strictly uncoincidental ...) If you've ever worked in such a heated atmosphere, what was the outcome? Is this a recipe for a lose-lose scenario, or might a surprise be in the offing?
As lame as the answer always sounds, "It depends!" Some people who strongly disagree come to great conclusions that have moved the world forward; and others have simply just shot at each other until someone runs out of resources. (Another name for this is war).
It is true, after all, that disagreement is the foundation of true agreement. If everyone agrees too quickly, it can be a sign that people are not being honest with each other and are avoiding confrontation. And that can lead to ... well, massive confrontation.
The Civil War started because "A house divided against its self cannot stand," which is not really true. It had stood before, but the issues of slavery and states' rights were so volatile, there was really no way to work it out over a 19th century cup of coffee. Like a mug of java back in those days, it took a long time to prepare and had unresolved coffee grounds floating in it, which made it a bit hard to digest.
If one side believes that the foundation of the other side's economy is 110 percent morally wrong, then you'd better grab your gun! Lincoln did manage to dramatically stop the War Between the States, but I'm just pointing out that he also started it.
It sometimes takes action, or aggression, to solve a problem. That can be hard for some to accept. We have disagreements that have lasted for centuries because in order to solve the problem, we'd have to take action that seems too extreme. Mr. Lincoln could have solved the states' rights problem without his war machine, but it took over 600,000 deaths to rid ourselves of the poison of slavery.
It seems death and destruction have a disturbingly good track record for ending a war. But in the end, is it all worth it?
In the business world, one of the keys to effective customer service training or revenue generating sales training, is the willingness to agree on what success actually looks like, not just the steps to get there.
If you have ever wondered why that customer-service rep was so rude on the phone, or why the salesperson who works for your company is a self-absorbed liar, it's about a lack of internal company agreement. Do we want to actually help troubled customers, or just apologize? Do we want to solve our problems or just get the money and win the sales trip to Cancun?
Doing what's right and difficult, sitting down and getting our real feelings on the table, and then working out a simple vision before we get started may not guarantee that we reach our goal of agreement. But it is damn good proof that we are trying.
Posted by: Rabbitsmoker | November 10, 2010 5:18 AM
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Posted by: jobandon | November 8, 2010 10:17 AM
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