Save the Money- No One Was Listening

What was the price tag for today’s Supreme Court ruling on the second amendment? Was it a good use of our tax dollars?  I suppose your opinion depends on your stand on gun ownership.  And that is where the system is broken.

After years of debate and months of preparation and argumentation, not one of the justices ruled in a way other than their natural leanings.  The conservative justices (in the majority) ruled to ease restrictions.  The liberals (in the minority) are concerned that we have opened the door to open season. So, tell me again why we bothered with the debate and the dollars to argue a case in the highest court in the land?

And that trend is sustained in the commentary by lawyers and advocates.  It is very easy to pass all information through the filters of your predisposition and pretend that there is no other possible interpretation.  One lobbyist for gun rights, while talking about a provision that makes whatever types of gun are commonly owned acceptable, opined that automatic weapons should be fine since “..almost everyone has a couple of those.”

I am not so much into the Don Quixote role that I am willing to go tilt at a windmill in the Supreme Court building; but there is a lesson here for leaders.

Part of a leader’s job is to make decisions.  Smart leaders encourage debate and listen with an open mind until they have an informed opinion- then make the call.  In addition to their own opinion, the look at organizational values and make an effort to see the issue from all sides. 

If enough of the people on your team have differences of opinion to have a debate, then by definition there must be something to the arguments on both sides.  And it serves little to listen for the sake of form.  People know when someone is truly tuned in- or tuned out. So you get neither credit for listening nor their buy-in when the decision comes down if you are only going through the motions.

The distinction between going through the motions for form and actually moving a team towards coordinated action is found in truly respectful listening.  An open and curious mind catches more subtlety and truly engages more informed debate than a “convince me” attitude.

If nobody is really listneing, then nobody’s mind has been changed on either side, no one understands the point of view of their opponent any better, and there is little empathy on either side of the question.  Regardless of how the court decided today, a lot of people could eat or get a dry place to sleep or learn to read for what we paid in tax and special interest money to change no one’s thinking or actions today. �