Daily Leadership Tip #11 – Look for Some Type of Common Ground
“A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.” – Ludwig Erhard
Even if you use every one of the principles in this book consistently, the occasional disagreement is inevitable. There are many ways to deal with disagreements but arguing with the other party is one sure way to guarantee that you will not persuade the other person.
When we argue, each side will begin to become defensive.
A PERSON WHO IS DEFENSIVE WILL VERY RARELY SEE THE LOGIC IN AN ARGUMENT
In 1787, George Washington and our founding fathers met in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention. Disputes arose frequently and compromise was essential. At one point in the process, Washington wrote, “No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was ever more clouded than the present!”
One of the biggest disputes was whether to have representatives in the unicameral congress to be determined by equal representation among the states or to have the number of representatives be determined by the population of each state.
Of course, the smaller states wanted the former and the larger states wanted the latter. Eventually, a compromise was agreed to based on James Madison’s suggestion that a bicameral legislation be created and Roger Sherman’s suggestion that the House be determined by population and the Senate have equal representation.
That one instance of common ground led to the foundation of one of the most remarkable human governments to ever exist. The representatives of each of the states got to go back to their homes satisfied that they inked out a good deal for their fellow citizens.
FIND COMMON GROUND
If the goal is to persuade the other person, then it is a good idea to find some common ground.
Ask yourself a few questions.
- What about the two opinions is similar?
- What is some point that we can agree upon?
- What single thing can we both agree on?
I am not suggesting that you cave in, by the way – far from it. What I am suggesting is tearing down the defensive walls so that both parties can see a logical conclusion.
When we can find common ground, the emotion and defensiveness are somewhat diminished. At this point, if we use some of the other principles from this booklet to allow the other person to save face if he is wrong. This will allow us to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
So, when you feel an argument brewing, find some common ground as soon as possible.