August 28, 2020
Josh Hannaberry, CNTL, AMTA Regional Chair, Calgary
Recently on social media, I came across a cartoon that portrayed a powerful message.
The cartoon was of two individuals, standing on either side of a number. The individual on the left side communicated that they saw a “6”; while the individual on the right side communicated that they saw a “9”.
I had to chuckle as I thought of how often that has happened in my own life. I am sure I have frustrated my wife on a number of occasions because I was certain of something, and in her mind, it made no sense at all. Have you been in a similar situation with your significant other, or in a work situation?
Under the cartoon, the artist wrote a simple but powerful statement; “Just because you are right, does not mean I am wrong. You just have not seen life from my side.”
Have you been in a conversation with a colleague, or someone else in the industry where you thought that your point was right and you totally missed what the other individual was trying to get across?
Again, I find myself reflecting on more than one occasion where I spoke with absolute certainty, but failed to acknowledge the other individual’s perspective.
After pondering on the meaning behind this simple but powerful cartoon for a few more moments, I had a realization. Although there has definitely been moments in my life where I spoke with absolute certainty and failed to acknowledge where others stood, I have also been in plenty of conversations where I genuinely listened to what other individuals had to say.
When I was willing to listen, how do you think the conversation went? Is it possible that the other individual walked away feeling a new sense of confidence? Most likely. What if the answers needed were missed because I was unwilling to see their point of view, and say, an unsafe working condition, remained?
In your experience, when a team is problem solving, do you find that you feel as though you accomplished more when everyone was heard, or when everyone speaks only on their own perspective?
Over the last couple of years, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by industry professionals who encourage me to speak, but also challenged me to listen, especially if what they have to say does not align with my initial thoughts. What this has taught me mirrors one of my favourite quotes by John D Rockefeller: “We need to be willing to give up the good, to get to the great.”
When we allow ourselves to listen, we are given the opportunity to get rid of the good. In order to get to the great, we must continue to collaborate.