A journey through irrational argument

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A journey through irrational argument

In recent weeks I have a had a number of questions about ‘my-method’ when dealing with difficult meetings discussing change and the introduction of Lean into the workplace and governance systems.

‘The-Method’ is simply one of critical thinking, deep listening to the other person to get into their world to understand their perspective and see why they draw the conclusions they do? Once you understand their perspective you can then ask what evidence do they have to support their views. If there is strong evidence and good arguments for their position, I learn something and I can change my views. I often do in the light of good evidence and reasoning. This path leads to progress.

Using the scientific method means we are not believers blindly following a theory, we are critical thinkers seeking ways to sense for evidence and learn new ways to respond to reality.

People are often prepared to listen to what you have to say and look at your evidence if they feel you have taken the time to understand their position and you can demonstrate back to them that you understand…..

CAUTION ONE: understanding another’s point of view or frame of reference does not mean you AGREE with it.

– The key here is this; Be prepared to change your own mind after learning something better or new.  Not deciding based on past experience but Truly choosing to sense and respond to open new possibilities and create new experiences.

CAUTION TWO: Not everyone enters into a conversation in good faith.

On a few occasions (thankfully only a few) I have come up against people who even before hearing your arguments and evidence have pre-determined that they don’t want to listen  to you –( For many complicated reasons too many to go into here). They often appear interested in you and want you to explain things, but they are not listening to learn they are listening and selecting things to shut down the conversation. – any jerk can burn down a barn.

This is what I call acting in BAD FAITH. – People are not  prepared to even contemplate another valid point of view and want to shoot you down. In these situations you have two choices, gracefully find a reason to leave – (don’t try to teach pigs to sing – not today at least) or you call them on it.  The second tactic is one that needs a great deal of courage but taking a strong stance that shows that you are prepared to listen to reason and good arguments but are not prepared to be bullied and made to shut up in the face of bad faith and bad arguments.

What you must never do is to find a compromise to keep everybody happy based on an unreasonable position, basically you have been bullied.

If you find yourself in these situations, ask for the evidence, what do they base their opinions on?, The Key phrase to look out for which indicates that they do not have any arguments left and just want you to stop is ‘In – my experience this does not work’ –  So just think about that for a moment, some very highly paid managers working for years in their industry and the best argument they can come up with is  – In my Experience.  So, you do not let up, you ask them to share some ACTUAL examples of where their experience supports the view they have taken… usually they cannot think of much and if they do its usually weak and you can demonstrate that actually that particular experience does not illuminate the point in question.

People often use the phrase in-my experience as an appeal to their own authority hoping you will respect their position and not question it any further. – but you must. Challenging the conventional wisdom of the hierarchy is one of the main principles of Lean Change.

So in conclusion I ask you to dig out the logical fallacies list and start using it, it provides you with better listening skills to move conversations forward, it also provides you with the tools to deal with people of bad faith.

Also Listen to the following pod cast. on Skeptiod


Episode 134 Who is Closed Minded?

Warm Regards, Stephen.

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