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4 Stages of Dealing with Difference

What is it that really irks you?

Seriously. Stop reading for a second, think about it, and choose something.

Dealing with others' differences is a basic part of life, something as inherent to humanity as birth, breathing, and death. We're all surrounded by people. Different people. And those differences can drive us crazy. Right?

One thing we love to help people come to see and believe is that being different is more than ok -- it's awesome! It's what enables us to add unique value to the world. But getting ourselves to truly believe that and to act accordingly is harder than it may seem.

The following four-stage model for may help you in the hard journey of learning to make the most of the differences in people around you.

  1. Despise

    This is where most people live most of the time. Others’ differences frustrate them. When they feel the friction caused by difference, they push it away. People in this phase tend to hire people like them, and their businesses suffer as a result.
  2. Acknowledge / Name

    With our training you can become prepared to acknowledge and name differences of behavior in terms of a rational framework which insists that there is equal value and legitimacy in variations in approach associated with amoral actions. Identify the behaviors of those around you, and when you perceive frustrating difference between yourself and others, call to memory your training and acknowledge their approach’s legitimacy. Name it.
  3. Appreciate

    Over time, you will begin to see more of the value inherent in others’ differing approaches. You will see more of their upsides than their downsides. This usually occurs in conjunction with a heightened awareness of the downsides of your own approaches. Push yourself into this stage by vocalizing to others your appreciation of their differences.
  4. Utilize

    Embrace the virtue of behavioral diversity, and intentionally and strategically leverage the strengths of those around you to improve the performance of your business or family. With the willing participation of those involved, craft roles and assignments which require the strengths associated with their respective strengths. Identify people's strengths and use them for good.

Remember what you thought about at the top of this article? Which stage are you in regarding that particular issue? What can you do to move forward? 

Can we help?

Either way, good luck, and have fun!

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