Sometimes this feels like the subtext of most conversations today:

“I’m right, you’re wrong. . . deal with it!”

However, most rational people know this is the furthest thing from the truth.

As much as many people would like to believe it is true, there are few absolutes in the world today.

Everything is open to interpretation, based upon our sense of what is right and what is wrong, and what brought us to those conclusions. It does not make our opinion correct, but merely right for us.

It does not make others’ opinions less valid, but instead based upon their interpretation of facts and reality, based upon their lived experience.

None of us are all-knowing or completely wise.

None of us can know for sure that what we believe is the absolute truth (and that everyone else’s sense of reality is entirely false and meaningless).

Generally, there are no such things as facts that cannot be disputed, because each of us comes to the discussion with a slightly different view of reality.

Case in point: Did unemployment fall 0.4% last month, and we are on a healthy path towards recovery and prosperity, or are there nearly 21 million unemployed people in the US today.  Both are true. It all depends on how you read the data and interpret it.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”

As companies and as leaders, we need to stop speaking and thinking in absolutes. We need to get rid of the thought process that our interpretation of facts, of what is right and what is wrong and what the proper path forward is, may not be correct all the time.

The more we can understand what motivates and drives others and why it does, the more successful we can become when we take their wants, needs, desires, fears, and aspirations into consideration when making decisions.

YES, you can disagree with people. YES, you can hold viewpoints that are contrary to others. However, you do not have the right to do so out of ignorance of their views.

We can understand what motivates people without agreeing with them.

We can make decisions that may make some people unhappy.

Still, if we know why it makes them unhappy and explains why we have decided to go another way, we have a far better chance of getting them to not be a roadblock.

We need to listen to, understand, and value each other as human beings.

This is not a nice to have. We must move forward and thrive as people, as businesses, and as societies.

Listening to others, and gaining insights from them, enables you to be more secure in your views – and may lead to insights that will allow you and what you are trying to accomplish to be better.

Taking the time to communicate your ideas to others articulately, without preaching, enables others to understand your concerns, motivations, insights, and beliefs.

When we talk with and listen to each other, we gain greater understanding. We not only reduce animosity and mistrust, but we gain knowledge and build levels of trust that lead everyone to tremendous success.

What are you doing as a person, a leader, a corporation, or other entity to foster greater understanding?

What are you doing to help others understand your point of view more effectively by understanding theirs?

None of this is easy, and all of this takes work and dedication.

However, when we make an effort, we become better, and the floodwaters of understanding raises all boats equally.

Here is wishing everyone health, safety, and long-term success.

Connect with Ben HERE to discuss how to provide your people with the skills and mindset they need to lead teams effectively into the new normal.