Monday, August 02, 2010

Duality In Problem Solving

I’d never heard of Martha Beck until this recent trip, when within hours both my Sister and Daughter separately mentioned her blog.  She was a professor at my alma mater, BYU, but a decade after me, and left as the institution became much less ideologically tolerant.298x232-Martha_Beck_HS-298x232_Martha_Beck_HS

I’m thinking of sending this blog on “duality” and problem solving to a young friend who’s deep sense of right and wrong has her in self-exile with a few co-workers and neighbors.

People who have worked with me know I refer often when problem solving that seemingly “either/or” situations can often be more “both/and.”

I have one friend for instance who is very either/or.  When he wants something, you’re either on his team or you’re not. People often remark about our friendship over the years because he has typically been very quick to verbally “throw me under the bus” whenever he wants something professionally and views me as a threat because I’ll shed more light on the issue.

Yet we’re still openly friends with one another (unfortunately he’s also an example of why I only have three very close friendships that have endured over decades.)  People wonder how we could be friends and yet he would say the things he has in public situations behind my back.  Knowing myself, I’m sure my tongue was a little quick too when things were tense.

People are contradictions.  Beck does an outstanding job of making sense of how they can actually be both a friend and someone who is ruthless.

As head of various destination marketing organizations (DMO,) I was often approached or should we say put in the “cross hairs” by individuals, usually from nearby communities who either wanted special treatment and when they found out I would stick to the mission and values of both my organization and my community would then do their best to try to make me in to professional “road kill.”

Part of DMO-CEO’s job is to resist special interests but I never made it personal and tried to find things to admire about these people, even when it wasn’t reciprocated.

But once I got past the audacity of these people, I often found good solutions somewhere between saying no and hell no or being a good ole boy push over.  This takes overcoming what Beck calls “duel-ness.”

Ms. Beck does a great job of explaining all of this and how to overcome dichotomies.

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