People ask me why I moved from Iowa to New Jersey. I did it in part because I knew that compared to Iowa, New Jersey is far more diverse in economic strata, religious affiliations, ethnic backgrounds, careers, cultures, customs, native languages, foods, clothing styles, values and traditions.
Life offers many opportunities to acquire new information. We can turn away, or we can be open to learning, a little bit at a time.
I have not been disappointed in that regard. I have found it exhilarating to be regularly challenged by so many different points of view and by people whose life experiences are so different from my own.
What do you do when exposed to new points of view?
Do you look at as an opportunity to learn something new? Do you eagerly ask questions to help your understanding? Or, do you throw up the barricades to protect yourself from a challenge to your way of thinking? Do you furiously marshal your arguments, ordering them into strategic position so that they can return fire at the first opening? Continue reading
A former boss of mine used to listen to our inputs, and then at some point, she’d make a decision. “This is what I want you to do,” she’d say. When the choice was not clear cut, she might say, “Let’s try it and see what happens. We won’t know if it will work or not unless we try.”
Whether your goal is as high as the moon or something you can accomplish before lunch, you will only reach it by pleasing yourself.
She wasn’t afraid to make a decision, or to change her decision when additional facts came to light. Her decisions were pragmatic, efficient and clear. Even if they were not always right.
What she did not do was expect us to vote or to debate until consensus was reached. Voting would have only served to create a win/lose scenario and give those on the losing side the opportunity to walk away from any commitment to implement the actions necessary for success. Too often consensus deteriorates into a process of making sure everyone gets a little of what they want, without regard to whether the actions will at all address the problem they were intended to address or whether the results are likely to yield the desired outcome. (If you want proof of this, look no farther than the U.S. Congress.)
We can’t run our business or lead our team by consensus. It doesn’t work. We also can’t live our life by consensus, by doing whatever the people near us tell us to do about how to live our life. Continue reading
If you’re like me, you depend upon a global positioning system to help you get around in unfamiliar places. I have one in my car, and another one on my phone. GPS applications have a nifty feature – or an annoying habit, depending on your point of view – of adjusting for driving errors on the fly. While the GPS is making an adjustment, it matter-of-factly intones: “Recalculating.”
Our GPS for life, the one that always helps us find Doing Right, is the moral compass that is deep within us.
We all say we want to do the right thing. And for the most part, we mean it, even when we’re not sure what is right. Continue reading