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Looking Past the Election: How We, As A Nation, Can Heal Together

It is with relief for most of us that we can say the election is right around the corner.

This has been an especially painful demonstration of how we need to change our engagement skills.  The use of extremes, blame, and name calling have never encouraged people to work together.

In fact, one of the cardinal rules of conversation is to avoid personalizing.  As the adage goes, people can argue mightily about issues and still go have a cup of coffee as friends.  However, once the discussion is about the person, it is difficult to return to issues.

That is why the word “you” is so damaging when we are trying to address issues. 

“You” is like an invisible finger pointing at someone and it seldom is followed with an affirmation like “You are so knowledgeable about this matter.”

More often than not, the “YOU” is followed by ridicule such as “You only care about money” or “You know nothing of what you speak”.  Language does matter and we need to be cautious when we speak.

I am afraid there will be much bitterness as this election comes to a close. We all must ask ourselves: How are we going to repair the damage and find ways to move forward?

There are some simple rules we can follow that may help us arrive at the difficult issues we need to address.  Consider these three steps:

Think about what we want to achieve.

Even though we had different ways of looking at things, what was the outcome we wanted?

We were passionate so we must care.  By focusing on the ”Why” of our behaviors rather than on our positions, we can begin to imagine common ground.

By focusing on the 'why' of behaviors rather than positions, we can imagine common ground. Click To Tweet

Talk about what we are going to do next.

No one has made a mistake in the future.

While we may have used harsh language during the conflict, it is now time to forge ahead.  Rehashing old wounds does not remove them; instead, talk about a future of promise.

Create an empty space to foster new actions.

Let go of the past.  Ideas are plentiful.

Together, agree on actions that will prevent us from repeating the negative past.  Talk does not cause things to happen.  Working together does. 

Talk does not cause things to happen. Working together does. Click To Tweet

With these three rules, let’s start again towards understanding, respect and mutual satisfaction.

CLU President Dr. Eileen Aranda

CLU President Dr. Eileen Aranda

Dr. Eileen Aranda is President of Claremont Lincoln University. Dr. Aranda spent many years as a management consultant focused on facilitation of the strategic management process, development and implementation of organization change efforts, assessment and mediation of internal organization problems and management team development. She holds an MBA and Ph.D. with an emphasis in strategic management and organizational development from University of Washington and is co-author of Teams: Structure, Process, Culture, and Politics (Prentice Hall, 1998).

Claremont Core

Claremont Lincoln University

1 comment

  • Very well said Dr. Aranda.
    Writing my comment after the victory of Donald Trump to be our next president of the USA, I have good hope that he will be following your advice as he has started do with his gracious complement to his opponent Hillary Clinton for her many years of service to the nation, and his statement that he will be the president of all Americans and that he will work with all including all nations of the world in a fair manner. As you said, we must all work together leaving the past behind, to “Make America Great Again”.

CLU President Dr. Eileen Aranda

CLU President Dr. Eileen Aranda

Dr. Eileen Aranda is President of Claremont Lincoln University. Dr. Aranda spent many years as a management consultant focused on facilitation of the strategic management process, development and implementation of organization change efforts, assessment and mediation of internal organization problems and management team development. She holds an MBA and Ph.D. with an emphasis in strategic management and organizational development from University of Washington and is co-author of Teams: Structure, Process, Culture, and Politics (Prentice Hall, 1998).

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