Don´t fight, try diplomacy

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Author: Brian Patrick Luining

One of the early lessons we already learn as children are to share our toys. Later on, we learn how to defend our toys and once we enter the arena of higher education we learn how to gain more toys. Then find affirmation of the latter in the careers we pursue after graduating.

Eventually, our self-esteem system is nurtured by the comparison system of how much toys we possess. Ownership as the Holy Grail of our bare existence and underlying corporate drive.

That model has been taught for decades, only to be disrupted by modern-day companies that have to share as a highly profitable business approach. Sharing is the new owning and that knowledge changes today’s leadership.

It is easy to recognize the old structures and those advocating conservatism. But it is fair enough to say that we need to change the narrative. Peter A. Corning, Ph.D. director of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems, once stated that collaboration has been a key factor in the evolution of our own species and that both competition and cooperation may coexist in different aspects related to the survival enterprise. His paradigm is that cooperation produces synergy and synergy is the way forward. Hence, the arc of evolution bends toward synergy.

In business education, we study the win-win principle. ‘Bi-winning’ is reached by synergy or the effectiveness to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

Instead of conquering the opponent, we seek abundance through collaboration and mutuality. There is enough for everyone at the table. One can take from the well as many cups of water and still the other can do the very same without having less or leaving less for the next. Once acting from this state of mind, fear subsides and opportunity accumulates.

Dr. Stephen Covey wrote in his book ´The 7 habits of highly effective people´, that one not only has to be considerate and sensitive to act upon ‘bi-winning’ but also has to be brave. The kind of bravery that comes from confidence and a self-esteem system that acts from the concept of abundance.

‘Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting’, one of Sun Tzu’s stratagems in the Art of War and surely one of the most complex to achieve. Peace as an instrument and not as an end-result. The sheer backbone of high-level diplomacy.

The added value of reaching for a resolve that is focussed on mutual benefits and not-fighting is that it requires you to become knowledgeable about your challenger. To investigate his or her motives and try to comprehend his or her point of view. By this type of constant learning, diplomacy is built. Now, one can with all regards agree to disagree and still come out bi-winning.

“Don’t fight, try diplomacy” as the key principle of leadership, with peace as an instrument, long-lasting relationships that prosper as end-result, and material wealth as a by-product. A transactional settlement system by which our very earth exists and one that works very well in business.

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