The Importance of Agreement and Non-agreement In Our Relationships with Others

Relationships are essential to life. It brings us together; forming family, friendships, the creation of organizations, cities, states, and countries. In the process of establishing relationships, we communicate—and this communication does much to bring us together. In fact, without communication, how would we come and be together?  This paper is about the issue of AGREEMENT & DISAGREEMENT THAT EXIST BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS AND COUNTRIES.


When this is achieved, the conditions as described above switch to the listener, who now becomes the speaker. Note that the process has nothing to do with agreement unless this is understood by the parties.  Expecting agreement without asking for it upfront is a “quagmire.” Stating the need for agreement at the beginning of dialogue is the better choice but is still problematic. It may be an impossible request(?).

In today’s world, we see this played out in families and between dear friends, co-workers, associates, and certainly within organizations and nations. This is a difficulty that challenges the best of relationships, and I offer no easy answer. Religion, politics, child-rearing, and education are examples of issues that often bring conflict and even pain when and where people talk. It is why I mention the “kitchen table” where implantation of beliefs and conflict is most likely to take place. The problem is that expectations are buried in opinion and not fact.

During true dialogue, there is no leader and no follower for that moment. Clearly, that presents a challenge to most leaders accustomed to being in charge and those followers accustomed to acceding to the demands of the leader. To experience dialogue is rare for these reasons, and yet it is essential if people are to be “real” and “honest” with each other. So much is missed in our relationships when dialogue is avoided and monologue takes the stage.


The Benefits of Living in A Community Where Social Interaction Is A Daily Occurrence

Each evening we go to dinner and enjoy a meal with other residents. Either we are invited to join two other people, or we invite two people to join us. It is here at the dinner table each evening that we enjoy a wonderful few hour of conversation and the sharing of histories. Everyone has a story to tell, so sharing a table makes the telling of tales possible. 

The beauty of this is that we get to know each other. A bit of history, what we did for a living, where we grew up and bits about family. It is an enlightening experience to often be with people that have lived and continue to live interesting lives. Of course, this is not always the case, but the chance to meet interesting people is there and dining together is an easy way for this to happen.

It is also the case that some residents remain apart from the social opportunities. They may have family living within the area and spend their time with them. Their lives are lived apart from other residents and although family and friends are especially important the chance to make new friends at the trails end is no small thing. All of us need relationships beyond family and old friends if we are to continue to grow instead of just getting old. 

Growing old is an “attitude” as well as a “fact” As a “fact” what is there to discuss? As an “attitude” it is worthy of books upon books and discussion. Those that are old and give in to waiting for their last breath are to be pitied for a condition none can avoid. Those of us that continue to mix with others and, if able, read, write, and continue to exercise creativity are wise and thrive.

Life, whether limited by old age or other factors ought not be wasted. Opportunity to learn and to give back is restricted by our own behavior. A wonderful example took place a few nights ago.  We joined two others at a dinner table without reservations. Usually, people arrange being together over dinner in advance, but now and then we allow serendipity to do its thing.  We joined a lovely lady we have had dinner with many times and a gentleman we have not met before. 

As usual, it turned out to be full of wonderful dialogue between us and a lesson in history led by the gentleman. He is a new resident of our senior complex. We will find out more about him in the coming days, but during this first dinner together we discovered that he was born and lived his youth in Tennessee, worked in Washington in government and had something to do in later years with a University in Atlanta.

In any case, our conversation took us to the problems and division of our country today. He led the conversation and his knowledge of the subjects we discussed was impressive. Interestingly, he continues to write and research on the subjects we discussed. Two hours engaged and time flew by. We can hardly wait to continue being involved in an education experience. 

Need I express the importance of what accidentally took place, and does almost every day? We are surrounded by people with a variety of life experiences. All have a story to tell and will if given the opportunity which has to include people interested in learning and sharing.  Sy

Life offers so much————pay attention and receive————to learn is a gift.

Bureaucracy And System

I watched the interview of Prince Harry and Meghan and it stirred up some concerns of mine that I have had for many years.  Those are the issues of “bureaucracy” and the visible and invisible barriers created by “bureaucracies.”

I openly share that when I personally or my organizations bumped into “bureaucracy,” I backed off. In other words, my being ruled and restricted by administrators or systems never sat well with me.  When it happened (and I am sure it did) I walked away if I could. If not (school; jobs I had as a kid, military service, etc.), I did what had to be done to the best of my abilities but made little noise and stayed in the shadows. Being myself and following my own tune is apparently deep-seated in me.

Interestingly, I remember reading that Confucius (the father of bureaucracy in China) had constant trouble with bureaucracies wherever he tried to influence leaders. This is also true of Plato when he was invited to be with Pericles, the leader of Athens. How often has this occurred that bureaucracy created to manage systems also attempts to controls all that live within its invisible walls? 

I see this as a non-problem for most people since we are born into systems. We call this our family and remain in a variety of systems throughout our lives. Lenette and I created organizations, and as leaders, we think and hope we dealt with our employees as individuals and not as part of a “system.” Yes, all organizations have rules; some are stifling and others flexible. And yet, I wonder now whether we did or did not create systems and walls? It is long past that time, but those who were there would remember and know. Systems may be ubiquitous so avoiding them may be impossible.  

It is why I believe most people may not understand Prince Harry and Meghan.  Prince Harry was born and raised within the Royal Bureaucracy. This is what he has experienced, and this is what he knows. Without question, what his wife has gone through is so powerful an experience that they are both deeply scarred by what transpired and can never again be without scar tissue.   

The creation of “systems” may be inevitable, and I suggest that “bureaucracy “may be necessary to serve the system and the people within it, but bureaucracy ought not to rule. I reacted against powers that sought to control me. Being responsible for my own actions “was right for me.” I have experienced and know that degrees of responsibility are what most people can handle. I also know that there are those that avoid any responsibilities. So be it. We need to recognize and accept the differences amongst people and respect what a person chooses for themselves and how they live their own life. 

Living under the control of professional administrators is what some people are born into and learn to expect they will be cared for throughout their lives. They become accustomed to the structure and security provided by the system.  When care and controls are expected but denied there must be a terrible sense of helplessness if one lives within the system. It takes courage to live one’s own life and be fully responsible for oneself. Some of us would have it no other way.  Sy

 I am born helpless————-In time I become able————-Freedom to be me.  

If I am cared for—————–For how long and in what ways? ———-Knowing essential.

Dogs That Hunt & Dogs That Don’t

I received a request to write my thoughts on the above title. I will below, but also want to remind that any suggestion for a paper is welcome as long as it has to do with power, leadership, dialogue and relationships. I think this request does.

I know dogs and I know people and the knowing of both is earned through life long experience with both.  As for dogs, we enjoyed a number of puppies and lived with them to their final days. They were all family to us. As for people, beyond family and friends, I worked professionally with hundreds of staff and with hundreds of adult clients over many years. Never studied dog behavior, just loved and enjoyed them. My study of human behavior has never ceased.  

So the subject at hand is about “Dogs That Hunt & Those That Don’t.” A leader asked the question and, of course, has people’s behavior in mind and not dogs. So I guess the real question is: why do some people take charge of problems and go off on their own to solve them and others do not? 

Those that take on the problem directly are the “hunters” and those that don’t or won’t are not “hunters.” Why, and what, if anything, can be done to change a person’s behavior so that they become “hunters?” Do leaders really benefit from that?

I believe that a group or organization with too many hunters and too few non-hunters is in trouble, or seeking trouble.  Again, as with this whole paper, in my opinion too many hunters create a competitive and possibly an aggressive environment. This harms and does not contribute to an organizations growth.   On the other hand, some hunters are assigned leaders; they are members of the leader’s Inner Circle and people accepted as leaders within the Inner Circle and of their own group. These unique and talented people know what they do and easily take charge when the situation calls for them to take over as leader.  They do contribute to the well being of their organization.  

It is very important that hunters and non-hunters be committed to the over-all organization and the head leader. The alternative and not uncommon results of too many hunters in any organization are the creation of a “sub-group” leader. The sub-group leader (always a hunter) has power as their primary motive and will work against the organization for their own benefit in the process poisoning the attitudes and behavior of their own group.

What I’ve learned working with both large and small groups is that a few well placed hunters are far more effective in reaching and going beyond an organization’s goals. Also, it is essential that hunters be recognized as the leaders they are and be included in an organization’s Inner Circle. 

Important to acknowledge that Hunters are role models and leaders and that they need the freedom to do what they do best and that is to take charge of the hunt. Balance between hunters and non-hunters is vital to an organization’s health.   Sy

I enjoy the hunt———Often the chase is enough———-How freeing this is.

I trust my leader———–To follow easy to do————–I am not alone.