I was thinking today about some recent clients who have had difficulties with communicating. This can be difficult with any group, but a family, especially extended family, often experience exacerbated issues attempting to communicate.
No group or family will always agree on everything and families often shy away from disagreement. So, nothing gets done and everyone goes home from their family foundation board meeting feeling faintly (or definitively) unsatisfied.
In addition to learning about each other's communications styles and agreeing to vote rather than always relying on unanimous consensus (BTW, consensus doesn't require unanimity), I like to remind people that disagreeing can be a fascinating learning experience that reinforces your respect for one another.
In a September 24th NYT column titled "The Dying Art of Disagreement", Bret Stephens wrote:
"...[T]o disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say."
Here's to more disagreements with this in mind!