In order to understand the differences in points of view,
we most often have to go back to the basics:
are the basic premises under which they are operating and what are the goals
they are trying to achieve?
One story from my consulting practice:
I was shadowing the Chief Engineer in a transportation company
one day, during my role as his mentor. He and I attended a meeting that was
being led by an out of state consultant. Our roles were to listen – not to take
The out of state consultant was offering his conclusions
as to where signal switches should be placed along the track for a new kind of
train. He thought (for example) they should be placed at A, C L, and Q. Another consultant (from a competing company)
was saying, you are all wrong, they need to be placed at A, B D, F, and M. The
two consultants went back and forth, “I’m right you’re wrong” without ever
having reached an agreement.
As I listened I realized that their basic premises and eventual
goals were different. The out of state consultant was suggesting switches that
would enable the most speed. The local consultant knowing the terrain was
suggesting switches that would create the most safety.
Each was right, given
their basic premises and goals.
when we disagree with someone as to how they should do something, perhaps we
ought to first learn what their premises are and what they want to accomplish.
Labels: communication, goals, point of view, premises, seek to understand