Here is a useful article from a great blog called Rethinking Complexity, out of Saybrook University. It challenges you to put aside preconceptions and really listen – even when what you are hearing goes against your fundamental beliefs. It does this via a simple exercise (simple to understand, not so simple to do!).
It discusses Edmund Husserl’s concept of “bracketing” which means setting aside your preconceptions. Which will allow you to really listen and hear what the other party is saying. If you are trying to understand each other; or perhaps attempting to reach an agreement over something, this becomes really important. If you are simply trying to win an argument rather than gain mutual understanding – then this is not for you. I suspect we often find ourselves in this latter area (wishing to win an argument) when we really should be looking to gain a mutual understanding. It is obviously best if both parties are putting their pre-conceived notions aside.
The technique requires a high level of emotional maturity as well as an ability to meta-think (to think about what we are thinking about).
Are you up to trying the exercise? It really could benefit your decision making if you can allow yourself to hear contradictory perspectives and evaluate them objectively – not in the frame of your own pre-conception.
Find the article here at:
At the end of the month, I am giving part of a series of lectures to a group of female managers in a major steel company. I am planning to use this technique to see if it will help bring some clarity to the myths, mis-perceptions and facts around women in business. I will keep you posted.