Overcoming Opposition

I’m regularly flummoxed when I hear people question climate change, or when folks actually believe that people of color are ‘different’ and worthy of being insulted, underpaid, ignored. What’s up with Congress and why can’t that many smart people find grounds for compromise? And why do women still only earn a fraction of what men earn? Are we not smart enough? Worthy?

With our unique, subjective stances, we attempt to change the opinions of others to concur with us: Liberals attempt to change Conservatives; races try to engender diversity; sellers attempt to convince buyers their status quo is flawed; techies/engineers/scientists/doctors believe they hold the Smart Card of Right/Knowledge/Rationale and work at pushing their opinions accordingly. Yet rarely do we make a dent. Others are ‘stubborn’ ‘stupid’ ‘irrational’ ‘ill-informed’ while we, of course, hold the high ground.

Core Beliefs Maintain Our Lives

The problem that causes all this ‘stubbornness’ and difficulty achieving alignment is the difference in core beliefs. Developed over our lifetimes via our experience and life path and forming the core of our subjective biases, they embody our Identity. And as the foundation of our daily decisions and status quo, it all feels just fine. It’s who we are, and we live – and restrict – our lives in service to these beliefs: we choose jobs, newspapers, neighborhoods and life partners accordingly. While researching my new book What? on the gap between what’s said and what’s heard, I learned we even interpret what others say to maintain our subjectivity.

Every day we (our companies, families, etc.) wake up congruent; we work hard to maintain our status quo, aided by our habits and memory. Every day, in every way, we regenerate our biases; in service to maintaining systems congruence, we filter in/out anything that causes us to question status quo. Anything that threatens this faces resistance and conflict as part of self-preservation. Why would anyone disrupt their stable internal systems just because something from outside that attacks our core beliefs tells us to? When pundits say our behaviors are ‘irrational’ they ignore the fact that all of our beliefs are rational to our systems. Everyone seeks to maintain their status quo at all costs. Literally.

And when we hear others spout ideas that run counter to our beliefs and potentially challenge our views, opinions, habits and norms, we feel challenged and set about finding ways to convince others to believe as we do. But our attempts to change minds must fail

  • Because our ‘relevant’ information, carefully culled from studies, pundits, target intellectuals or politicians to prove we’re Right, is biased according to our own subjective beliefs and likely not the same studies, pundits, target intellectuals, or politicians that our Communication Partner would believe.
  • Because we’re arrogant. We’re telling others I’m right/you’re wrong.
  • Because information doesn’t teach anyone how to change, and it can’t even be heard accurately, unless they are already prepared to do so.
  • Because we cause resistance.

Agreement Requires Belief Modification

As outsiders we will never fully understand how another’s idiosyncratic beliefs create their opinions. Nor do we need to. We just need to find agreement somewhere; we must eschew the need to be Right. We must enter each discussion as a blank slate, without a map or biases, with the only stated goal being to find common ground.

Imagine if you believed (there’s that word again) that you had no answers, no ‘Right Factor’, only the ability to facilitate an examination of a higher order of beliefs that you can both agree on.

Instead of trying to match your own beliefs, find a belief you can match. Maybe you can agree that maintaining climate health is valuable, and merely disagree on causation or cures and move on from there. Here are some steps:

  • Enter conversations without bias, need to be right, or expectation.
  • Enter with a goal to find a higher order of agreement rather than a specific outcome.
  • Chunk up to find a category that’s agreeable to both and fits everyone’s beliefs.
  • Begin examining the category to find other agreeable points.
  • Use the agreeable points to move toward collaboration where possible.

I’m a Buddhist. I’ve learned that there is no such thing as being Right. But I’ve also learned that I don’t need to disrespect my own beliefs or undermine my own tolerance level to be compassionate and recognize that everyone has a right to believe as they do. Of course sometimes I’m willing to lose a friend or client if another’s beliefs are so far outside my identity that I feel harmed. But I understand that my stance, too, is most likely biased and defensive. I, too, might have to alter my beliefs to be more amenable to collaboration.

Here is the question I ask myself at times I feel the need to change someone’s opinion: Would I rather be Right, or in Relationship?

About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is founder of Morgen Facilitations, Inc. ( She is the visionary behind Buying Facilitation®, the decision facilitation model that enables people to change with integrity. A pioneer who has spoken about, written about, and taught the skills to help buyers buy, she is the author of the acclaimed New York Times Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and Dirty Little Secrets: Why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.

To contact Sharon Drew at [email protected] or go to to choose your favorite digital site to download your free book.

CEOs Reveal The Top 3 Strategies For Women To Excel As Leaders

If you knew you could improve your company’s revenue with one single strategy, would you do it? If you heard there was a way to enhance your business profits, would you want to know what it is?

The New AdvantageMost leaders would likely answer “yes.” Yet every day in corporate America, business leaders neglect to take the steps that would give them a competitive edge.

One of the quickest ways, and in many ways the easiest to implement, is to balance their teams by including more women in positions of leadership. For the teams that find that balance, these are three common results they can expect:

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About the Authors

Howard J. Morgan and Joelle K. Jay, PhD, of the Leadership Research Institute (LRI) are co-authors of The New Advantage: How Women in Leadership Can Create Win-Wins for Their Companies and Themselves (Praeger / 2016). LRI is a global consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational development. Morgan has worked with over 1,000 CEO and executive team members of the world’s largest organizations on improving corporate and executive performance. Jay is an executive coach and keynote speaker, and specializes in the advancement of executive women. For more information please visit

Take Your Values And Make Them Your Cause

Most companies have corporate values that they hope embody their company, their employees, and the way they wish to be viewed by the public. Unfortunately, many organizations’ values statements are pages long. Too dense to be remembered and too complex to be ingrained in the company culture. Ours were.

We’ve learned there is power in simplicity, and that is why we at National Life Group have shifted our focus to three simple, authentic values: Do good. Be good. Make good. Just six words, but we’ve been able to translate them to a cause and a mission that drives everything we do. You and your company can do the same.

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About the Author

Mehran AssadiMehran Assadi serves as president and chief executive officer of National Life Group. Since taking that role in 2009, he has led major growth in sales of National Life’s life and annuity products and worked to build a culture of collaboration, engagement and empowerment among employees. Mehran and National Life Group were highly featured in the recently published book CAUSE! A Business Strategy for Standing Out in a Sea of Sameness, by Drs. Jackie and Kevin Freiberg, about the power of creating cause-related companies.

National Life Group® is a trade name of National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, VT, Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, Addison, TX, and their affiliates. Each company of National Life Group is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest is not an authorized insurer in New York and does not conduct insurance business in New York.


1. American Enthusiasm to Shop with a Conscience at Record-High, but Doubts About Corporate Impact Persist, Cause Marketing Forum, October 2013.
2. Culture of Purpose, Deloitte, 2014.
3. 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer Executive Summary, Edelman, 2014.

“Wellth” is the New Wealth

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals ArticleWealth has historically been viewed as financial success in business that translates to success in life. Money, real estate, investments, and “stuff” like cars and expensive vacations – if you’ve got these things, you’re doing well for yourself… right?

Perhaps it’s time we recognized that the wealth game is changing. While money does matter, it’s no longer the foremost defining attribute of personal or professional achievement. Instead, a new focus on happiness and purpose is driving the common consciousness. This shift is due in part to the influence of millennials, whose priorities about work and life are reshaping everything from world economies to the business landscape as a whole.

The millennial mind looks at something like the price of real estate – the financial Everest they would need to climb to achieve some conventional form of “wealth” – and realizes that maybe there are more important things within their reach. Indeed, 53 percent of millennials say they value health more than any other priority besides family. Additionally, nine in 10 say they pursue health in order to be successful in other areas of life. It’s clear that, rather than wealth, this next generation of leaders prioritizes what I like to call “wellth.”

What is wellth? Wellth is the combination of physical, mental, and financial wellbeing that provides a foundation for each of us to strive toward success by living our best lives. Wellth redefines what it means to “arrive” by focusing instead on the journey; it’s about not being a slave to the daily grind; it’s making a conscious decision to live well. And while wellth may seem like some kind of New Age idealism, it’s not limited to vegan yoga students, boot camp evangelists, or spin bike enthusiasts queuing up to find inner strength at studios all over the world. In fact, there is a definite growing awareness among middle-aged professionals and corporate leaders that seeking wellness will help to accomplish larger goals.

Here are three trends that showcase how millennial-minded workers and businesses are switching their focus from wealth to wellth.

Fueling an Appetite for Ambition

It’s true: green is the new black. Just take a look at the many healthy eating gurus who are dominating Instagram feeds and building entrepreneurial empires on the foundation of wellness. Beyond the trendiness, though, this new focus on eating right underscores an emerging understanding and appreciation of how food affects all aspects of our lives.

The healthy food/happy employees connection has not gone unrecognized by most forward-thinking businesses. Research shows that employees with unhealthy diets are 66 percent more likely to experience a loss in productivity than those who regularly eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This is something most people realize from personal experience without even needing the science to back it up. There are foods that increase focus, concentration, and alertness, just as there are foods that make you feel sluggish, uninterested, and tired—it’s the reason we all silently chide ourselves for reaching for that bag of chips when we’re stressed.

Not surprisingly, Google has spared no expense to ensure their cafeteria nurtures employees from the inside out. That’s because they realize that there’s an integral correlation between health, employee happiness, and the combined effect of both on business success. They value wellth!

Finding Focus in Action

Increasing your heart rate and physically pushing your body isn’t only good for your muscles and bones, it’s also great for your brain. This relationship is why many of the world’s most successful business leaders turn to fitness to help them stay centered. In fact, Sir Richard Branson cites daily exercise as his number one secret to staying healthy and productive.

But it’s not only physical action that makes a difference. In addition to building fitness and wellness programs into their cultures,top companies are also recognizing the impact of purpose on the emotional wellbeing of their employees (and, ultimately, their bottom line). Those that prioritize action in the form of corporate social responsibility and embrace the power of giving back are finding success, both in terms of profitability and in terms of employee motivation, retention, and engagement.

Taking Mindfulness to Work

Balance in life is necessary, and burnout at work can often tip the scales in the wrong direction. Burnout manifests as a lack of interest or motivation, depression, or even physical illness – and 69 percent of employees cite burnout as a key contributing factor to poor productivity.

Along with eating right and staying fit, being mindful of burnout is essential for keeping your wellth account full. This can be as simple as scheduling time to unplug or learn new skills. Even technology – the supposed enemy of peace and quiet – can help. For example, apps like Headspace can act as a personal trainer for your mind and help you achieve your daily 10 minutes of mindfulness.

Businesses that want to help their employees avoid burnout can provide unique experiences, such as sponsoring a company cycling team or organizing regular outdoor retreats. Oftentimes, just getting outside is enough to reset the balance, as research shows that time spent in nature can increase happiness and attentiveness.

Journeying Toward Wellth

These three trends represent the tip of the iceberg for the wellth movement. As the millennial mindset continues to shift wellness from a mere fad into the mainstream, traditional constructs of personal/professional achievement are actively being replaced with a new appreciation of life goals (and how we reach them). The basic tenets of wellth may focus on diet, fitness, and mindfulness, but this movement is about more than just working out and eating berries and kale; it’s a conscious choice to live well.

As motivational philosopher (and friend) Jay Shetty notes, “We are human beings but act more like human doings. Instead of a ‘to do’ list we need a ‘to be’ list. Rather than thinking what we should we do in situations we should think about who we want to be in situations.” Wellth is how many of us are bringing the act of being back into everything we do. It provides a holistic vision of what it takes for each of us to reach higher and go farther, which empowers us to build a solid foundation for attaining success in all aspects of life—including work.

So, how wellthy are you?

About the Author

Nick Goode is the Vice President Product Management — Cloud & Sage One, Sage’s cloud accounting and payroll solution for start-ups and small businesses. Goode is accountable for the commercial, channel, product and marketing strategy for Sage One worldwide. Goode is previously Head of Sage One for Sage UK, and prior to that, Head of Marketing for the Accountants Division at Sage. His LinkedIn can be viewed at and his Twitter handle is @nickgoode.

6 Fundamentals That Underpin Engagement – authentic organizations are high-performing organizations.

We began our research by asking people to describe their dream organization—one that feels authentic and within which it is possible for one’s best self to emerge. We’ve synthesized these ideal organizational qualities and have shown how some workplaces are making the elements of the dream real, inspiring the rest of us in the process.

Put together these multiple benefits – commitment, creativity, understanding, personal development, trust, purpose, and freedom—and you have created the fundamentals that underpin engagement at work. And we know that engagement is correlated with performance.

Why Should Anyone Work Here?The dream organization, then, is also the high-performing organization.

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About the Authors

Rob Goffee is Emeritus Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School, where he teaches in the world-renowned Senior Executive Programme.

Gareth Jones is a Fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School and a visiting professor at Spain’s IE Business School in Madrid.

Rob and Gareth consult to the boards of several global companies and are coauthors of Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? and Clever, both published by Harvard Business Review Press.