Adversaries Into Allies by Bob Burg

I’m reading Bob Burg’s latest book, Adversaries Into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion. This is a perfect book for Bob. In my limited exposure to him, he is the Go-Giver. He exemplifies turning adversaries into allies. He personifies the idea of winning people over without manipulation or coercion.

Bob presents a practical, seven-step outline to to turn adversaries into allies. The steps are sections with 7 to 9 different chapters beneath each one.

For me, one of my favorite sections is Section 3: Understand the Clash of Belief Systems. Most adversaries aren’t really adversaries at all. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Do you wake up every day, intending to expend energy to frustrate someone else? Of course not! So do you think your most frustrating “adversaries” are really purposeful in their opposition to you? Of course not!

Bob explores the detail of the clash of belief systems as only he can. Each chapter in that section is a prize nugget. One is something I’ve believed for a long time, Accept Responsibility For Communication. When the other person doesn’t understand, that’s not their fault. We are each responsible for both the meaning we communicate and the understanding we receive. Whenever communication breaks down, often that breakdown can be resoled if only one person accepts responsibility both to understand first and then to be understood. Bob quotes one of his mentors, “When the shooter misses the target, it ain’t the target’s fault.”

The next chapter in that section opened new spaces in my brain. Titled The Importance of Conscious Awareness, he challenged me with the depth of what I don’t know. I’m unconscious of my unconsciousness. (You are too!) And the depth of that unconsciousness is very dangerous when it comes to influence and personal relationships. For me, becoming consciously aware of the clash of belief systems is the first step to becoming more relational and influential.

In the chapter, First, Know The Issue. Then Choose The Words, Bob made the statement, “Be sure to frame these conversations as a discussion between allies, not adversaries.” I was drawn up short by conviction in this. There are some people in my past that I have approached more as adversaries rather than allies. I realize now that I could have been a bit more giving, and understanding of their belief system and had a different outcome.

I have more to read and re-read. So you’ll need to get your own copy of Bob’s great book. I’m going to hang onto mine for a while.

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