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“Can’t they just open their eyes?”

The Sales Director thought the COO was a coward while the COO thought the Sales Director was risking the business.

It’s a common situation when opinions clash on an issue we deeply care about. The instinct when facing such a conflict is to ask: “What’s wrong with them? Can’t they just open their eyes?”

But this instinct leads you down a path of blame and ultimately, into a deadlock because, of course, they are thinking the same about you.

Anyway, it makes (kind of) sense, considering that these are all smart people. They care deeply, they have thought it through and they have very good reasons for their take.

And yet, the same is true for the other side.

Actually, quite likely there are excellent reasons on either side of the argument.

That’s why, in situations like these, I suggest a different perspective: The choices you make going out conversations like these help a team define who they want to be.

Given that there’s no clear right and wrong answer, it’s an opportunity to define what kind of right is right for us. What kind of wrong are we not willing to take.

So, it’s not about who is right (because, in a way, both likely are). It’s about who you want to be and which path is right for us heading into the future.

The easy way out might be to sidestep these issues, hoping they’ll resolve themselves. But more often than not, this leads to even deeper fissures down the road.

If you’re the leader, it’s way more important to face these conflicts straight on, as these conflicts are precisely the kind of conversations that lead you and your team to your true core and fill your journey with meaning.

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