Some Tips for Talking When We Disagree

Canyon, Texas is home of Palo Duro Canyon, the deepest canyon in Texas. It’s beautiful!

As I write this I’m in a Subway in Walmart in Canyon, Texas, using their free wifi. I’m in town visiting my ailing, 90-year-old Aunt. I won’t be back in the office until Thursday morning, so if you notice that I’m not as responsive as usual, you’ll know why.

One of the reasons I’m a little worried about not being as responsive to you all is that this week we’ve got a pretty provocative headline: Is Grassfed the Worst Thing to Happen to Agriculture? In the article, the author, James Matthew Craighead, asks a lot of interesting and maybe difficult questions. I can imagine they might cause us all some discomfort, but I wanted to share this as an opportunity for us to think about and discuss difficult things as a way to make our individual operations, and our industry more successful. And, as I wrote last week, I think that the best answers come from teams that include people with a wide variety of backgrounds and ideas.

But talking about things like this can be hard. So, I thought I’d share some tips that have worked for other folks who have successfully worked through difficult things to come up with good answers and solutions.

Model the type of communication you would like to see.

None of us like to be yelled at, or called names. And we all appreciate being heard. So this is the best place to start. Consider it “Low-stress People Handling.”

Look at things from another’s point of view.

Sometimes when I’m having a disagreement with my husband, the best thing I can do is to stop and really try to see it from his perspective. I may not agree with it, but we can at least take a breath and look at things in a new way.

Build relationships

Yes, it seems impossible sometimes, and I’m not saying you have to become fast friends. But respect builds trust and trust allows more ideas to come to the fore.

Who knows, together, you might come up with a better solution, or you might get someone to change his or her mind.

Thanks for reading!

Kathy

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