Decision-making is often challenging when you are the only person involved. When two or more people are part of the process, there will naturally be different points of view, which can cause dissension.
Couples and families are often faced with decisions which evoke very different responses. One person may feel that his or her well-being is threatened by a potential outcome, while the other(s) may see an exciting opportunity.
Exploring all points of view as objectively as possible allows everyone involved access to all available information.
When I was a business consultant, we were given a special training about decision-making. Emphasis was placed on the importance of listening to those who hold a different point of view. The theory behind this is that the person who disagrees holds information necessary to the decision, which only they can contribute, given their unique viewpoint.
This applies to any group of people, as well as to couples. When the majority involved agree, there is a tendency to dismiss the opinion of anyone who does not agree with the group. This also applies to a couple, especially when one person tends to consistently express him or herself with more authority and conviction than the other.
In both of these situations it is important to be patient, and to ask questions which evoke answers that may surface necessary information. Wanting what we believe is “right,” is a very human response. Cultivating the ability to truly understand someone else’s point of view, can initially feel very frustrating.
Rather than trying to convince or require someone to defend their position, you can ask open-ended questions in an interested, caring manner. Open-ended questions elicit specific information: “Please tell me more about why you believe this move/project/idea isn’t in our best interests.”
When you do this, you show respect for the person and build trust between you, within your family, business or any group of people who work together. Respect and Trust are essential qualities for all on-going relationships.
The person who disagrees with a decision that appears to be logically sound, may surface something essential which was missed, and needs to be considered. It is important to remember that understanding does not mean one must agree. It simply allows you the opportunity to be open to a different point of view. This also applies to ideas which look risky, and may have great potential.
When we make it a priority to understand those with whom we live and work, our relationships become richer, and more satisfying as we learn to make mutually beneficial decisions.