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The Game of Dialogue and How it Is Won

Why Are We in This Dialogue?

Not that there is a step-by-step approach on how to conduct every dialogue, but if there was, I believe it would start with asking yourself, “Why are we in this dialogue?”. It may seem strange to say it in such a way, but if nothing else, let us be sure to give critical thought to our intentions, and determine if they support our personal set of values. If our actions support our personal set of values, then we can begin to reasonably consider the intentions of others.

In the business context, it would only be rational for us to ask competing and cooperative forces to communicate their intentions, even if that intention is apparently in opposition of our own. Furthermore, and again, in a business and “real-world” context, we must understand what is truly at stake before choosing to identify others or parties as opposing factors.

Are You Willing to Treat Opposition as Your Friend?

We must know that dialogue can and will foster conflict; and that’s sort of the point if we desire community progress. Would we imagine that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb only on positions that were apparently supporting his own? I do not.

What I’m trying to communicate is that our dialogue and resulting conflicts, may perhaps be the key to our success. In my experience, while listening to apparently opposing points, I recognize that such points are not opposing, but rather in compliment to mine. Furthermore, considering other viewpoints allows us to consider if perhaps we were wrong, which in my opinion, isn’t always a big deal (Until it is, right?).

Thankfully, I have been wrong many times in my life; and many of those times, a seemingly oppositional viewpoint from people that I trust has helped me develop a stronger foundation of what truth really is.

Equity-Based Compromise is the Win (For Stability’s Sake)

My belief is that commonly accepted truth is best found when we are critical of our position within society, and how our actions influence others. Truths can be discovered through dialogue which has the intention of what I call equity-based compromise. These shared truths are the key to stability among opposing factions.

Equity-Based Compromise is a phenomenon in which everyone receives their maximum utility by considering both justice and equality; thus, allowing both parties to demonstrate authentic fairness, or equity, driven by an inherently altruistic sense of utility. By this I mean that fairness is what gives leaders satisfaction! However, I must include that this disputes a world view rejecting the fact that we are interconnected, which I believe all people are. Even though we do not rely on each other, we do influence one another. When we choose equity (authentic fairness) in dialogues, we are creating a world where everyone experiences stability that is provided through cooperation. Of course, some people will exclaim that selfishness and competition is how the natural world works, and I agree. But my truth is that we can work together for a common good, that through dialogue, will be discovered.


A Final Reflection for Conflict Resolution and Dialogue

  • We should consider our motives and intentions
  • We should rejoice in an apparently opposing view for the sake of progress
  • We should continue to consider how our actions influences others
  • We can work together to be agents of stability


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By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, January 04th, 2023

Happy New Year!  Take a few moments to reflect on the questions posed below.  You have the opportunity to change your life and the impact you have on others.  

  1. “Am I content with my life right now?
  2. Am I happy with the direction I am going?
  3. Do I belong to a meaningful organization?
  4. Am I contributing in a positive way to society?
  5. Am I in meaningful relationships?
  6. Do I contribute to my relationships in a positive way and for the betterment of others?
  7. Have I been successful with my life so far?
  8. Do I have a sense of purpose?
  9. Do I look forward to the future?
  10. Do I feel ashamed in any of the areas listed in the above questions?
  11. Can I be completely open and honest with those around me?
  12. Am I vulnerable and transparent in my closest relationships?
  13. Am I presenting a false self to others?
  14. Do I feel the tendency to wear masks around others?
  15. Are there things I hide from others?
  16. Am I afraid of something in my life coming out into the open?
  17. Are there things in my life I am choosing not to deal with?
  18. Are there things in my life I need to change or get rid of?
  19. Do I feel the need to impress others?
  20. Do I worry about or am I overly concerned with what people think about me (p. 136-137).”

From: Causey, C. (2021). Candor: the secret to succeeding at tough conversations. (e-book edition). Chicago: Northfield Publishing.

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