Fred Smith Sr.M2M would like to share a word from Fred Smith Sr. and the Breakfast With Fred Leadership InstituteFred consistently studied human nature. He was invited to join high powered negotiation teams for his skills in discernment and communication. His grasp of human nature, as well as the nature of God, gave him an effective platform.

Adler, the eminent psychiatrist, helped me with his observation that everyone is logical if you understand the base from which they operate. For example, if you were to go into the mental health facility and see a short man with his hat turned sideways, and his hand in his shirt you might assume he thinks he is Napoleon. Then, if you greeted him warmly with “Good morning, Napoleon,” and he acknowledges the greeting it would be perfectly logical. His base premise would be his identification as the French leader. Architecture gives us another example: the tower of Pisa. We all know it as the “leaning tower.” The building is absolutely square to itself – the base that is tilted.

I’ve had labor relations situations where this understanding has been extremely helpful. I was involved in an imminent strike situation in which the employees were determined to engage in a long, bitter strike. This would have resulted in catastrophic financial loss to the employees, but their minds were set.

I asked the negotiating lawyer if they mentioned the company’s making money from the strike. This assumption was mentioned more than any other complaint. The employees truly believed the company would benefit financially from a strike. “They repeat this more than anything else,” was his response. I recommended to the owner he call the employees together and explain to them in believable language the truth – the company was NOT going to profit from the threatened strike. The employees accepted his word and avoided the strike. When each party understood the basic operating premise, an environment for resolution could occur.

When an organization or individual differed with me, I used to assume they were unreasonable. But when I started practicing this principle of logical premise, it made a big difference. I started looking for their base. It was an effective change in my thinking.

As a parent I was given the opportunity to practice this regularly. When I couldn’t make sense of a child’s decision and was tempted to strongly challenge them, I stopped to say “What is their operating base?” I can’t say I always took the time to work this out before reacting to what I saw was foolishness, but I got better. We see this so very often in the political arena. We see our politicians pushing and pulling in a seeming illogical manner. When we stop to analyze the premise of each argument, we can more often understand their position. It doesn’t mean we have to agree, but we can create a ground for communication.

Logic is an outgrowth of the operating system. Properly understand the base and you will understand the logic. It may not be a pleasant behavior, but it follows the underlying assumption.

This week think about: 1) Who seems illogical to me that might serve as a learning lab? 2) What assumptions are part of my operating system that confuse others? 3) When do I expect understanding to result in agreement?

Words of Wisdom: “Properly understand the base and you will understand the logic.”

Wisdom from the Word: “He has filled him with the Spirit of God—with skill, with understanding, with knowledge, and in all kinds of work,” (Exodus 35:31 NET Bible)