This blog is an appeal for change.
As individuals, groups, communities, societies, even corporate and government, let us please resolve differences of opinion and feeling by a commitment to and practice of “More Conversation” (MOCO) and “More Candor” (MOCA).
Candor – i.e., frank, sincere, open, transparent, blunt, direct, plainspoken, honest, and forthright.
Like Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign/slogan, why don’t we more often “Just Say It”?
“MOCO” is from Liz Ryan’s Harvard Business Review Blog, “We Approach Diversity the Wrong Way.”
As for “MOCA” . . . as Mike Myers, aka Austin Powers might express it, “It’s my own acronym, baby!”
My appeal for a MOCO/MOCA commitment might on the surface seem silly. A no-brainer. Yet is it?
My point is this:
Unlike in many African and Asian countries, in much of the so-called Western world there are few, if any, cultural or social norms that exert pressure on individuals or groups to stick with and work through interpersonal conflict.
-Your best friend says or does something that hurts, offends or disrespects you? Disengage. Find another.
-Your pastor frequently speaks on topics that trouble your conscience? Leave and find another church.
-Your parents persist and insist on managing your life? Go live elsewhere.
-Your neighborhood is morphing into a racial and cultural hue of a different kind? Relocate.
-Your spouse cheats on you? Forget the kids’ well-being or any extenuating circumstances that precipitated this hurtful indiscretion, divorce the good-for-nothing. Refuse any efforts to reconcile.
Working through disagreement, differences and conflict is more often than not all-consuming for a time.
Sometimes sustained dialogue is unsuccessful in resolving differences, yet it often results at a minimum to understanding and respect for the other’s position.
Yes, the process of sustained engagement and dialogue might leave one feeling physically and emotionally comparable to clothes having been wrung through an old wringer washing machine. And, yes, I realize that life’s pace and socio-political complexities don’t always allow for such privileged hashing out of differences.
I’m not suggesting that we shout more, or be even more of an ass toward others than we already might be.
I am asking that we commit more time, effort and compassionate/empathetic candor to resolving differences and disagreements.
It might not make us popular in the short-term, but it will improve our long-term credibility, as well as strengthen relationships.
Perhaps Wendy Lea’s (CEO of Get Satisfaction) responses about entrepreneurship to The New York Times’ Adam Bryant are a fitting closure:
“If you think there’s a problem, there is. If your instincts say there’s something wrong, there is, and the longer you wait to tackle it, the worse it gets. I’m so tired of having to relearn that lesson. . . . I am open and willing to tell the truth that you need to hear, and I expect people to do the same with me.”