Maybe it’s my zodiac sign, but this ability – separating people from the problem – is one of my key strengths. The downside is there’s potential for the unscrupulous to abuse you and for you to be so objective you come off as cold hearted or ruthless even. The upside is you get to remain friends or at least on speaking and negotiating terms with people you’ve fought with (like exes!) or don’t necessary agree with. Like my former employer, the Board Chair. We are on polar opposite of the professional achievement scale. This in the boardroom meant we each need to put in greater effort in order to agree on some things. Outside, though, when there’s no pressure from our positions and we’re just being our selves, we talk about farming – seeds, fertilizers, GMO, struggles of IP upland farmers – lengthily as if we’re long time neighbors. Colleagues were both surprised and happy witnessing this- they believed we were ireconciliable.
The idea came to me one day as I was mulling over how I could reach out and engage the Board more meaningfully. They’re farmers so where else to start but there? And I’m not unknowledgeable either about farming. On the subject we were more or less equal although he definitely has upper hand in the art of actual farming which for a change he had pride and confidence discussing. The positive response on that communication level served as my gauge that all was not lost; that there was still a window thrown open for continous understanding of each other and negotiation. I guess what I want to point out here is, as long as we don’t take absolutism as our stand, not judge people rather extend to them the benefit of the doubt, and make collaboration as the means and end of engagement, there’d be a fighting chance that unity in diversity will happen.