- February 16, 2021
- Posted by: Paul Foster
- Categories: Business Communication Skills, Improving Communication in Business
Our ego loves us to be right.
The biggest ego’s help us be right 100% of the time!
And if we are always right then everyone else is wrong. Right?
Allow me to explain with a business story:
This is a story about Frank and Rita, who both worked in an independent retail store. The business was about to redesign and reorganize the warehouse. Both Frank and Rita were responsible and practical employee-owners. Each of them had their own proposed plan for redesigning the warehouse. The problem was that each plan was different. They were both very confident their own plan was the right solution. As brother and sister, they were having trouble resolving this dispute on their own.
Each one was confident their point of view was right. The implication was the other person was wrong, and they were stuck. Frank had an idea. He knew an old man who lived on a hill, known to be the wisest man in town. Frank decided he would present his idea to him to see if he was right.
After listening patiently to Frank’s presentation, the old man considered his point of view and declared “Frank, you’re right.” You can imagine how delighted Frank was to tell Rita how wrong she was because the old man declared him to be right. This news made Rita unhappy. She was sure there was a misunderstanding, so she proceeded directly up the hill to talk to the old man herself. She presented her point of view, and the old man listened carefully. After a moment of consideration, he exclaimed: “Rita, You’re right.”
During both conversations, the old man’s wife was listening in from the next room. She came into the room after Rita left and shared her perspective on the issue. “Look old man,” she said. “It’s not fair to tell both Frank and Rita that they are both right.” He listened to her, considered her point of view, and then declared, “My darling wife, you’re right!”
I love the message in that story.
It allows the possibility for everybody to be right and nobody to be wrong!
If you follow Steven Covey’s advice, from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” you don’t even need to live near a hill or know a wise old man.
It’s the 5th Habit – “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”
It is a skill worth practicing, but it comes at a cost to your ego. For some reason, the ego takes pride in other people being wrong in order for it to be right. The new understandings only happen when we let go of a little pride, and allow others to be as right as we are.
In my experience, when the people in the business grow themselves using the “seek first to understand, then be understand” habit, the business grows too.
I think this skill and communication skills, in general, are so important to business success. That’s why I published an e-book about it. In fact, I think it is so important, I have decided to make the e-book a free download.
You can download it here. I plan on revising it soon, so please share any suggestions for improvement.
I hope it becomes a catalyst for new understandings. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everybody was right?
I personally think it’s OK to sacrifice a little ego in order to gain some understanding. If you disagree, let’s go talk to the wise old man on the hill!