You need 'something' from everyone you deal with, from clients to coworkers...vice presidents to supervisors...constituents to shareholders...friends to family...AND guess what? Everyone has biases, attitudes, and expectations.
When you're dealing with someone you need 'something' from I recommend you adjust your worldview in order to reach them. This is a more effective approach than assuming everyone sees and hears the same (or different) thing as you.
In a recent blog post, Seth Godin compared two very common worldviews that I'd like to touch on:
BATMAN: He comes to the world angry. His origin story is filled with vengeance and revenge, and in his iconic backstory, he is the merciless enforcer of right and wrong. Batman-types see the world as a zero-sum game, and battles are either won or lost.
SUPERMAN: He comes to our world with his gifts and sees his life as an opportunity and an obligation, one that he embraces. Superman could easily kill all the bad guys in a heartbeat, but he never does. For him, every challenge is an opportunity for healing. He believes in redemption and finds pleasure in using his gifts to help others.
Picture yourself pitching a product to a room filled with Batman personalities. Now, how are you going to adjust what you planned to say? Speaking to this group will be tremendously different than speaking to a group of people who are more like Superman - advantaged and benevolent.
There are many types of people with a variety of worldviews. It is impossible to have a healthy working relationship with people you need help from (and who need your help) if you do not adjust your worldview or attitude or biases or expectations. I hope you will work on your flexibility (think Spiderman), because as you do, you will increase the likelihood of reaching more compromises and getting help from other people.
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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