I once worked with a woman who rubbed just about everyone in the office the wrong way. She was really good at her job, as she and I had some shared interests, but we never bonded. By the end of my time with that employer, I found it very difficult to socialize with her, though I still managed to work with her on professional matters.
I tell my students that any time you have two or more people in the same room, you’ll have disagreement and possibly conflict. No one agrees 100% on everything.
However, it seems some people thrive on focusing on areas of disagreement while others seem able to get along with everyone. What could their secret be?
John Maxwell, the most prolific leadership writer, talks about the “101% Principle,” which states that when you are interacting with anyone, you should look for the 1% you agree on, then give it 100% of your effort. I believe this is the secret great connectors understand.
In order to give that 1% agreement your full effort, you have to take your attention completely off of yourself. This is exactly what not only John Maxwell says but also Mark Goulston and John Ullmen in their book Real Influence.
While I sincerely believe any two people can not agree on all points, I equally believe the inverse is true – you’ll never find someone with whom you have nothing in common. I challenge you to become a “common ground detective” with everyone you meet. You will be surprised by what you discover!