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listenThis is a question posed by Peter Drucker in his book Managing.  It’s also true for everything else that we face in life.  Instead of focusing on the personality of correctness doesn’t it make sense for us to spend time thinking about what is correct?

Get your ego out of the way.

When I was younger it was important for me to always pretend to be the smartest person in the room.  All that was really happening was my ego was getting in the way.

I’ve learned that for us to move forward we need to stop always trying to be right.  We need to stop letting our ego run our lives.  We need to admit that there might be a better way. 

Learn to listen.

The best way of doing this is to stop thinking about what we’re going to say while the other person is talking.  We spend so much time figuring out what we’re going to say next that we forget to stop and listen.

I know that when I do this I miss an awful lot of what you’ve said to me.  Have you ever had the experience that you’re having a disagreement with someone and you have no idea what the other person has said.  If the answer is yes, I bet you were trying to figure out what you were going to say next and not listening to what your conversation partner was saying.

Stop trying to win.

I think that one of the reasons we listen so poorly is that once we have a disagreement we start concentrating on winning.  We don’t really care whether we’re correct or not.  We just want to win.  Don’t you think it’s time that you stopped trying to win and learned to figure out what’s right?

I know that when I had children at home, I would get into these stupid wars with them.  I needed to win and I needed to prove they were wrong.  It would have been much more productive for me and I suspect for them if we both just looked at what’s right.

Look for the bigger win.

The bigger win in my book is when we get a solution that is outsized.  It’s usually something neither you nor I expected to happen.  It only comes when we both trust and respect each other.

Do you respect the people that you disagree with?  Do you think they also want to get a good solution?  If not, then there is little chance that you’ll ever come up with something that you’ll find a bigger win.

Admit you might be wrong.

This is the big one.  It circles back to learning to control your ego.  Many times when I get into a righteous state of mind I’m wrong.  It’s my ego trying to control what I do.  I’ve learned that if I can’t admit that I might be wrong then we’re never going to go anywhere.

When you admit that you might be wrong, you’re not admitting that you are wrong.  Instead you’re opening up the possibility there might be a better way to get to a good solution. 

Think about this, wouldn’t it be a better place for you if you weren’t always trying to be right, but do the right thing?  I know it would make our world a better place.  What do you think?

I write blog entries four times a week.  On Monday and Thursday the topics are how to create value in your business.  Wednesday is how to become better at what you do and personal planning issues.  Friday is Op Ed Friday.  Fridays are when I write about how to make our world a better place.  If you’re interested in having notifications of when new blog articles are posted, enter your email address above.  You won’t have to remember when to check, you’ll have our post delivered to your inbox.

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Topics: value creation, communication, lessons learned

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