“You Are Right.” The Magic Phrase for Transforming Relationships

In a divisive world, the 10% Rule from Positive Intelligence® encourages finding a small agreement in disagreements, fostering open, constructive dialogues and mutual understanding.

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“You Are Right.” The Magic Phrase for Transforming Relationships

It’s so easy to listen to what someone else is saying and think: “He is so wrong. I don’t agree with anything she is saying.”

You might not. In today’s polarized world, we often have completely conflicting views about situations, people, policies, or perspectives. In fact, there can be a lot of pressure NOT to find common ground.

But the truth is if we dig deep enough, we can almost always find something that another person is saying that we agree with, even if we have to stretch ourselves a bit.

In my work with my clients, I incorporate a framework called Positive Intelligence®, a system founded by Shirzad Chamine. It’s one part of the overall Daring to Transcend™ methodology. There’s a practice in Positive Intelligence that’s very helpful when we’re faced with situations where we just don’t agree with someone.

I call it the 10% Rule. It goes like this:

“In any given situation, assume that the other person is at least 10% right.”

Yes, I said assume that the other person is 10% right. Find that 10%. Maybe it’s really only 5% or 1%, but if you look hard enough, you can find a little sliver on which you can agree with the other person.

Tell them that.

You know the old saying that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar? This rule is kind of a variation on that because the whole dynamic of a conversation changes when you start from a place of agreement.

When you tell the other person, “You are right”.

We all like to right, don’t we? I’ll confess that I do. I think it’s the way most of us are raised. If nothing else, our school system teaches us the value of being right. We were certainly rewarded in school for being right.

So, what happens when you tell someone he or she is right? He’s pleased. She’s gratified.

And he or she is much more likely to be open to what you say next, right?

There is one catch though. You have to be genuine. You have to really believe that the person is right about that one little sliver – wholeheartedly.

Because people can tell when you’re faking it.

But I know you can do it. I know you can find that little thing in what is said that you can say: “Yup, you’re right about that.”

Because more likely than not, you’ll hear back that you’re right about something too.

And then you can build on that. Find even more common ground. Maybe even come to an understanding or, better yet, an agreement.

Maybe you’ll even come up with a new idea that’s even better than the position that either one of you started with. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

This is not easy. It means setting aside our own natural defensiveness. It means finding a point of agreement on an issue or problem that might be very emotionally charged.

It means daring to transcend the situation and finding higher ground to build on.

It’s worth it. I promise.

I challenge you to try it out this week. Even just once. Then, let me know how it goes.

And if you’d like to learn more about Positive Intelligence and the rest of the Daring to Transcend methodology, please contact me. I’d love to share more.

Photo credit: istockphotos.com/fizkes

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