Other Side of the Table

Other Side of the Table

While scrolling through my Facebook feed recently, I saw this post:

I fail to see how anyone in their right mind would consider voting for [insert name here]. It’s beyond me.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly the problem. And it applies to both sides. (Here is where some people on both sides reading this will immediately exclaim, “We’re not nearly as bad as they are! The other guys are way worse!”) I substituted “insert name here” because it took me almost no time of searching to find someone expressing a similar statement about the other candidate.

We fundamentally fail to see the other side’s viewpoint. And that’s assuming we try to begin with. Most people don’t attempt it. It’s clear this person didn’t. It’s not that they couldn’t see how a reasonable person would vote for a particular candidate. It’s that they couldn’t see how anyone in their right mind would even consider it. Reading between the lines here, this person is saying, “If you agree with my position, you’re normal. If you disagree, you’re either insane or so unforgivably stupid as to be indistinguishable from insane.” Vilifying those who don’t think the way we do is rarely productive.

I used to think that was the kind of statement people made to the faceless masses online, but would never express directly to a real person standing front of them. These days, I’m not so sure. Regardless, this is not a political blog and I have no interest, expertise, or inclination to wade into those choppy waters.

But if we have this mindset in our political views, it makes sense that it might bleed over into the way we run our business and do our work.

If we fail to see why someone might choose our competitor over us – or worse – never even attempt to see why, that won’t be the only thing we fail at. We have to be able to picture the other side of the table and the other point of view if we ever hope to better ourselves and our work, and learn from those who don’t think exactly the same as we do. Every once in a while, we have to stop looking in the mirror and take a look out the window.

There’s so little to lose and so much to gain from trying that I fail to see why anyone in their right mind wouldn’t consider it.

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