Why Won’t You Just Meet Me Halfway?

Have you heard yourself ask this question, usually in frustration: Why won’t they just meet me halfway?! This often gets said when we are in a disagreement or a conflict with someone or another group and we want to make progress on an issue or mend a relationship. But, what do we really mean when we ask the question?

First of all, what is halfway? How do you know? If you imagine a road with point A and point B and you start at one point and the person you wish to persuade to meet you halfway starts at the other point, it is pretty easy to discern the halfway point. However, what if there are other roads connecting points A and B? Do you know which road you are each traveling?

In the case of a difference of views on an issue or circumstance, are you even clear on your own starting point? Have you really thought about it, clarified it for yourself or are you assuming? What about the other person (or group)? You may think you know their starting point … but do you really?

Another key question to ask yourself is, what do you mean by halfway? If there are more than one possible starting points or interpretations of starting points or if there are multiple pathways between the two, which is usually the case, then what is halfway?

More often than not what we mean when we say halfway is, here’s where I am, here is the road in front of me, meet me on my road. MY road. Not THE road. Not your road. Not some other road we may not yet have discovered. Meet me halfway on my road. Which means, come to me. Compromise something that may be important to you and meet me on my path.

meet halfway

If this trip is important, then determining starting points and the willingness to find the intersection that represents “halfway” is worth the time it takes.

What steps are you willing to take to meet the other person (or group) at some other point that may or may not be the “half way” you think you are asking? What might you need to let go of or be willing to compromise to get to this point? What curiosity are you willing to bring to your own motives and to the motives of the other person?

Worldview Intelligence offers the opportunity to discover your own starting point (or that of your organization or community) on issues that matter enough to involve other people. It invites you to imagine what the other person’s (or group’s) starting point might be and then allows you the opportunity to invite a conversation that may evoke a very different pathway than the one that is directly in front of you or the other person; a pathway that has greater potential to meet at the intersection of worldviews, where both or all views make an important contribution to solutions you may not have thought about or considered, each on your own.

Join us in Halifax on November 30, 2017 to learn more about starting points and meeting halfway.

There Are No Simple Solutions to Complexity

We want it to be simple. We groan under the weight of the increasing complexity we are experiencing – at work, in life, in our communities and in political environments. We bemoan the fact there are no silver bullets even while we continue to search for them.

Not only do silver bullets or simple solutions to complex issues not exist, but when we try to apply any we have come up with, they do not work. We end up in a situation where fixes fail or backfire loops emerge. Fixes that fail is when the solution we apply backfires and the problem or issue still exists either in its original form or worse. Unintended consequences spin off increasing the complexity of the circumstances we have been attempting to address.

Examples of unintended consequences abound but one example from our Worldview Intelligence work is with a health care client we work with in the US. The client piloted a new approach to patient care in six of its more than two hundred clinics across three states. Including one of these clinics in the pilot put its relationship with two other nearby clinics in jeopardy – a relationship they had invested years in building to create a common patient experience – because the one clinic was now operating differently.

So, if simple solutions do not exist, how do we find our way forward? One way is to illuminate the complexity, the relationships and the underlying patterns. Working with a Nova Scotia client recently that has a strong reputation Nationally and Internationally for the work they do, where they work in numerous coalitions and collaborative relationships to accomplish their mandate, they were invited to map their system and relationships.

Map cropped

Mapping shows the messiness and the complexity of the system. It illuminates what people try to hold in their heads, resulting in less stress and greater capacity to address issues and plan.

The map showed the dynamic complexity of their work. A surprising outcome to them was that in making the complexity visible, it reduced the sense of overwhelm and stress many of the staff felt, untangling the complexity and offering clear ways forward in their work planning, including identifying meetings, who needs to be involved in which conversations to which degree.

Worldview Intelligence explorations do not necessarily reduce the complexity, but by illuminating it, shows ways to address it and then change the outcomes.