Skip to main content


Listen In Case We're Wrong...

Every argument contains at least one misunderstanding. Why? So often we are in such a hurry to express ourselves that we don't pay attention to what someone else is saying. Or, we confuse style with content. When we find someone's personality abrasive it's easy to disregard anything they have to offer. Right, or wrong. I learned the hard way that none of us ever has the complete picture. Even when our opinion is correct, it is incomplete. Until we see a more complete picture (we may never know all of the details) we would do well to stay curious.  Every argument starts with misunderstandings, and usually stays there. What if we dug deeper? What if we did stay curious? What if we're wrong - how will we know unless we listen? -- doug smith

Revolution or Evolution?

How long do you like to wait for what you want? The more certain I am about something, the less patient I am. I want what I want and I want it now. But that's not always the best idea. And it usually isn't even possible. Big ideas bring about resistance. Change isn't easy. When people and processes stand in our way, our first impulse is to break on thru. Let the strong survive. Let the resisters catch up or fall away. But -- results are important, and relationship are even more important. After working for many years I've discovered that results (good or bad) tend to be temporary. Relationships? That's up to us. We can do things that build trust (keep our word, consult others before deciding things that impact them, tell the truth) and sustain relationships, or we can take short-cuts that damage those we'd prefer to keep on our side. The trouble with revolutionary solutions to problems is that they break both things and people. And no matter how good the results

Another Big Question

What should we do with six thousand years of problems and mistakes? Keep centered, keep solving, keep serving. -- doug smith 

Serve First, Serve Always

Never stifle the desire to serve. It's what we are here for. -- doug smith  

There Are Many More Ideas...

Centered problem solvers are not discouraged by solutions that did not work. Next! -- doug smith

Relationships and Processes

Collaborative problem solving depends as much on the strength of relationships as it does on the power of the process. Centered problem solvers build their relationships while they challenge their processes. -- doug smith

Start With Common Ground

Start with common ground to tame the mountain of conflict in front of you. The trail may be long, but it is certain. -- doug smith

The Trouble With Absolutes

We could argue absolute truth all day, all week, all year. Let's not. What if there is some element of doubt? What if there are undiscovered truths underneath the surface? We could take the time to experiment and learn along the way. We could conduct dialogues that explore rather than expose, that interrogate rather than interrupt. We could probe instead of poke.  The trouble with absolutes is that if you're wrong you are absolutely wrong. Let's stay curious instead. -- doug smith

Challenge: Argue?

Here's a challenge for you. I'm not concerned about a wrong answer or a right answer. I'm curious about your answer. Here goes: To argue is to lose your audience. What do you think? We've all done this at one time or another, been so certain that our position is right that not only is the other person's position wrong, but THEY'RE wrong, too. Oh, so wrong. That turns a position into an opinion and into an emotion.  What do you think? If we enter emotional ground, does our think fog beyond reason? To argue is to lose your audience. Or is it? -- doug smith  

Common Ground

This is a guest entry from my good friend and fraternity brother, David Spiegel. Dave runs, co-runs, and helps keep going some great businesses. He also is a kind soul with a dry sense of humor. Here's Dave: Common Ground There can be no doubt that we are living in highly polarized times. Passions, feelings, and tempers can be inflamed in an instant. This diversity is increasing on a daily basis. Still, I believe when we act as mature rational individuals, we can and will be able to find common ground. Take the relationship between my good friend and fraternity brother Doug and myself. One of us is true blue. The other one's blood runs as red as the stripes on the flag. We never argue about it. In fact, I can't ever remember it ever being an issue. Of course when we meet at our frat's yearly get together and one of us is wearing a red hat the other one naturally tends to bristle a bit. Still, we respect each other and value each other's opinion, no matter how misgui

Positive Prevails

Is it hard to muddle thru when people keep talking about how hard it is and how senseless it all seems? Of course. But it is not senseless. And the hard stuff build resilience to make us stronger, smarter, and more open to change. Everything you've ever done has helped to make you better. Keep going. Keep growing. Stay strong. It's hard to resist a relentlessly positive outlook. Stay positive because positive prevails over negative. It might take a while, but positive wins. -- doug smith

Quick Quote: Create That Picture

Creativity is sometimes the willingness to picture things better than they are, and then creating that picture. -- doug smith