How Differing Opinions Can Help You and Your Business

business-meeting-conflictGenerally we like to be right; it reinforces what we believe to be true. We may feel uncomfortable or even threatened when others disagree with us or present a diametrical point of view. However if we knew all the answers, our worldview, business strategy and personal development will be limited by what we know and there’s little potential for growth or improvement. Ask the leaders of Polaroid how they feel about their strategy to being the best and only instant photo company now. Conditions change and what we thought worked, or even was a winning strategy at one time may not be valid any more.

“You can’t do clear observation if you ain’t in the field.
You can’t be a pure observer if you’re now in the field.” – Toba Beta

Early in my career, as the Director of Design and Development for Britannia Jeans, I had periodic differences of opinion with one of the Merchandise Managers. He and I would disagree every season on how well the colors matched on the different fabrics in the line. Finally one day I decided to ask more questions instead of trying to make him see how closely matched the colors were. What he told me changed our relationship forever. He admitted that he was colorblind and his arguing was his way to ensure that the best color matching was done since he couldn’t see them! I learned a big lesson; ask more questions even if you think you’re right, what you learn may resolve the conflict.

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Marilyn Tam

Marilyn Tam

Marilyn Tam grew up as an abused and neglected child in Hong Kong. Wanting to help others and to right the wrongs, she left home as a teen to come to America alone to study. She became a business leader (CEO Of Aveda, President of Reebok and Vice President of Nike) and a global humanitarian. She shares in her latest book, "The Happiness Choice" how you can live a life of happiness, health and success. It's her way of giving back to the world for all the blessings she's received.

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