Perspective: Finding Common Ground

I thought this topic would be perfect given the time after the mid-term elections in the US. And after seeing the results where the Republican Party has taken back the Senate as well as newly minted GOP governors – including in my home state of Maryland with Larry Hogan, this could not be more perfect time discuss this topic.FINDCOMMON

Now is the time for all leaders to focus on how to compromise. Leaders right now need to bring everyone together for the common good. Leaders who can find common ground and seek compromise are those who will be victorious – not only in politics but in business as well. It is paramount that we embrace this real moment of change.

As the famed leader John Maxwell writes, “It is difficult to find common ground with others when the only person you are focused on is yourself!” We can’t find common ground if we are trying to make other people into a version of ourselves.” And these words are prophetic today.

Common ground is where we all come together – and solve problems. It’s not about winning or losing but reaching deals that allow us to bring forth solutions that are best for all – not just some.

Below, I want to quote from a post about the reasons people neglect finding common ground, again from John Maxwell:

· Assumption: “I already know what others know, feel, and want.” “All miscommunications are a result of differing assumptions” says Jerry Ballard. “We need to be like a good tailor. Every time he sees a client, he takes new measurements. He never assumes people are the same as the last time he saw them.” This is even true of those close to you. When you make assumptions about people, “you stop paying attention to people and miss clues that would otherwise help you to find and reach common ground with them.”

· Arrogance: “I don’t need to know what others know, feel, or want.” Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis observed, “Nine-tenths of the serious controversies that arise in life result from misunderstanding, from one man not knowing the facts which to the other man seem important, or otherwise failing to appreciate his point of view.” Our arrogance builds a barrier between us and others when we hold to our way of thinking to be the only right way.”

· Indifference: “I don’t care to know what others know, feel, or want.” Indifference is really just another form of selfishness. “Communicators who are indifferent are focused on themselves and their own comfort instead of extending themselves and finding the best way to relate to others.” ”

· Control: “I don’t want others to know what I know, feel, or think.” Maxwell says that finding common ground is a two-way street. Good leaders “inform people, make them a part of what is going on, and include them in decision making whenever possible. You cannot establish common ground if you refuse to let anyone know who you are or what you believe.

On this day, let us remember that what divides will conquer us and what unites us makes us stronger.


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