Often in business, we are faced with the challenge of explaining our position on a given topic to those who completely disagree.
Sadly, it is all too common for a simple difference of opinion to escalate into the linguistic equivalent of a Roman gladiator fight to the death. Rather than advancing understanding, a combative verbal altercation damages relationships, fuels personal grudges, and results in a considerable loss of personal credibility.
The fallout from even one such exchange can negatively impact all aspects of a business.
Recently, I took another look at the 2009 exchange between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Congressman Christopher Smith (R, New Jersey, 4th District) and realized this was, in fact, a clinic delivered by Clinton in how to effectively handle such situations.
Secretary Clinton's remarks were in response to questioning over the current administration's position on women's health issues in developing countries. I understand this is a hot button topic, but I consider the leadership lesson to be learned from her reply is too valuable to ignore. Whatever position you hold on this subject, the way Clinton appropriately states her point of view against vehement opposition is nothing short of inspirational. There is no anger, no belittling of her opponent, and no negative language. She effectively explains the reasons she holds her belief, without attempting to change the other person's mind, or prove them wrong.
The next time we find ourselves in a situation where we are the voice for the cause, this is a lesson to remember.
David van Toor has had considerable success during 20 years both as an Entrepreneur, and in Corporate Executive Leadership roles across manufacturing and technology industries, and was advocating about the Customer Experience long before it was "cool". David believes there is no problem too tough to solve, and that sooner is always better than later. He embraces change, and has a serious allergy to sacred cows and the status quo.