It was in the early 90’s during a Dale Carnegie Leader in You session. Everyone was paired up to practice a tool that’s helps leaders get to know each other on a deeper level.
Once everyone had their partners, the group started looking around and silently communicating with each other through eye contact. It turns out two gentlemen who really REALLY did not like each other were paired up. A few minutes into the exercise the two gentlemen stood up and walked out of the room. The rest of the group was tense wondering if these two were going to get into yet another argument.
Finally, the two gentlemen walked back into the room, and asked the trainer if they could tell everyone what just happened. It turned out one of them was injured while fighting for our country, and the other man was the pilot of the helicopter that saved him from the hot zone.
This may be the most dramatic ‘change of heart’ story I have heard in a Carnegie program, but it is not the only one by a long shot! Once people are given the opportunity and tools to learn about their co-workers on a deeper level, they find many amazing connections! You could be working right next to someone for years and have no idea how many times your lives have intersected, or what they are currently going through, or how many amazing things they have accomplished in life. Learning more about the people around us is so much better than assuming we know people based on a very small amount of information, and then categorizing them.
If we want to increase our collaboration, so we can find real solutions, is up to us to really get to know others. Use your Carnegie tools! If you do not have Carnegie tools, search the internet for questions to ask. Work at it! Challenge yourself to really listen. Is it outside your comfort zone? Even better!
Think of someone who you have put in the category of the ‘other team’. How will you get to know them on a deeper level?