…in Politics, in Society, at Work, and in Your Personal Life
People learn, grow, and create better solutions through combining contrasting perspectives. When differing perspectives instead cause us to vilify one another, all we succeed at doing is destroying our society and ourselves.
We live in an age in which more people than ever are engaging not only in wholesale dismissal of perspectives that differ from their own, but in vicious castigation of those perspectives. THIS what is destroying us, NOT the conservative perspective, the liberal perspective or other perspectives.
Dominating or destroying others who are different from us has been humanity’s history for thousands of years. This strategy is incapable of providing us with the solutions we need to today’s challenges. The future of humanity depends on how good we get at combining contrasting perspectives to create sustainable solutions.
The key to this is upgrading our analysis and problem-solving skills. This IntegrityWatch Blog post outlines three guidelines accomplishing this.
1. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BRINGING YOUR BEST POSSIBLE FRAME OF MIND TO THE PROCESS, REMEMBERING THAT…
- With very few exceptions, the other person or group sincerely wants to make things better too.
- No one person, party, or ideology sees the whole picture, even when if they insist that they do… including you and me. Humility, not arrogance, is the best frame of mind for issue analysis and problem-solving.
- The best way to discover as much of the whole picture as possible is to make expanding your awareness more important than holding to your preconceptions. The only belief systems that facts are capable of threatening are incomplete belief systems.
- The larger the system in which a problem exists, the less likely it is that a “perfect” solution exists – not from those you agree with and not from those with whom you disagree. Potential solutions include both costs and benefits. Avoid right/wrong, either/or thinking because absolutist thinking make cost-benefit analysis impossible.
2. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEVELOPING A COMPLETE PICTURE BEFORE FORMING A POSITION OR PROPOSING A SOLUTION.
- Find out the full facts instead of focusing only on the facts that support your preconceptions. Avoid the temptation to overlook inconvenient facts. (Click here for tips on How to Become a Great Fact-Checker… Fast)
- Get good at distinguishing data (facts) from interpretations, and interpretations from conclusions or positions. Avoid the temptation to draw conclusions or take positions based on distorted interpretations that are caused by incomplete information. Here are two telltale signs of a faulty conclusion or position: a) It encourages hatred of those with different perspectives from yours; b) It reflects a double standard in which what’s okay for one person or group to do isn’t okay for another to do.
- Understand the merits of the “other” position, not only the merits of your own position. This will inoculate you from wrongly turning others (family members, friends, colleagues, or fellow citizens) into the enemy.
- Seek to discover the picture that emerges when you combine contrasting perspectives, instead of distorting the picture into the dangerously oversimplified notions of "either/or," or "if I’m right you must be wrong."
3. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HELPING TO CO-CREATE THE SOLUTION.
- Collaborate with other self-responsible, teachable people who pay more attention to aspects of an issue than you do. (Participating instead in polarization guarantees that a “best possible solution” to a problem will never be found.)
- Pool your wisdom to generate solutions that address the issue in a more complete way than any one person or group can create by themselves. This is synergy, not compromise. (Compromise means creating a bland middle ground in which all parties walk away from the negotiating table feeling ripped off. Because of this, using compromise as a problem-solving strategy guarantees that a “best possible solution” to a problem will never be found.)
- When synergy-centered problem-solving proves difficult, seek expert facilitation instead of giving up and prematurely resorting to compromise. Synergy is an extremely learnable skill. For more about the art of synergy, read The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World, and complete the synergy development exercises in its companion, The New IQ Integrity Makeover Workbook.)
- Avoid unilateral action and compromise. Settle for compromise only as a last resort if all attempts at synergy fail, and use unilateral action only when emergency action is absolutely necessary to contain an immediate and extreme danger until a sustainable solution can be generated.
The essential foundation that makes it possible to master the art of co-creating solutions is having clear and healthy personal boundaries. To read more about and get your copy of Dr. Gruder’s self-guided NICE™ Boundaries home learning program, go to www.TheNewIQ.com/boundaries
© 2009 Integrity Revolution, LLC & David Gruder, PhD
Listen to an explanation of this material using illustrations from the news & daily life,
on Integrity Talk Radio’s September 10, 2009 episode.
Click on the link to the show’s archives at www.IntegrityTalkRadio.com