The income gap, the education gap, the “class” gap, etc. — whatever the gap is — it’s widening. It’s widening for a lot of complex reasons; however, a major contributing dynamic is the polarization of expressed views.
When did compromise and collaboration become dirty words? Or actions that are deemed weak?
Polarizing — or extreme — views can be used very effectively to see new perspectives, to expand the conversation, and to challenge accepted norms. However, if left unchecked and not used as a tool, but as an ideology, taking the extreme view entrenches the other side into their extreme view, as each side attempts to get the other to budge.
I know this may be surprising, but I’m simply talking politics here. This takes place every day in our lives, our corporations, and even our homes. We think that, if we retreat into our point of view and pull further back, we’ll somehow pull the other side into the middle – as if our debates were some game of tug-of-war.
Coaches, leaders, and educators are comfortable and confident enough to step into the middle; to weigh not only their views, but the views on all sides of them; to look for the commonality that exists; and to close the divide. Once the respective sides realize that they share 80% of their goals, progress can be made through compromise and collaboration.
Right now, too many of our conversations and decisions are at a standstill; we need to learn to compromise to get the ball rolling once again. Later, we can learn to fully collaborate and, perhaps, even help each other.
Weigh all perspectives, look for common ground, get commitment on that common ground, and isolate the balance for discussion, framing it in the perspective that each side is essentially getting 90% of what they actually asked for in the beginning.
Live on Fire!
D. Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)