In the global marketplace, it is difficult to enjoy long-term relationships with those who are closed-minded about viewpoints and opinions that differ from their own.

There are far too many executives in every organization who have a bad habit. They’ve learned to say “NO” to every new idea presented to them. In a sense, they wear hats that bear the word, “NO” in bright letters and thereby serve to shut off discourse before it starts.

To be in the same meeting with people like that is dismaying. Their very presence guarantees that your viewpoint will meet with closed-minded resistance and not be heard.

Everybody benefits when associates open their minds to opinions they do not agree with. There is no way to exchange ideas or negotiate a reasonable compromise with a close-minded person.

The best we can do with people like that is to maintain as good a relationship as possible and hope for a better time.

Good relationships are built on open-mindedness on the part of both parties. Only then can they reconcile differences. It is far better to work with people who value and welcome dissent without squelching it or personalizing it.

Only through the give and take of argument and persuasion can better, more creative solutions be found and relationships enhanced.

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