The Sharing Couple
This week I’ll examine the role of understanding when negotiating. It is a wise person who seeks to understand first and then be understood. (Steven Covey)
Many times, Leaders and managers jump into an issue way too early, trying to solve a perceived problem, which with a little bit of thought on their part, would be solved by waiting.
Here’s a story I think you’ll enjoy: One day a little old and very cute couple walked into the local fast food restaurant. The little old man went up to the counter and ordered their food. He brought back to the table a hamburger, a regular fries and a drink.
Carefully, he sliced the hamburger in two and then neatly divided the fries into two small piles. He sipped the drink and then passed it to his wife. She took a sip and passed it back. This went on, with the couple silently sharing the drink.
A younger man at a nearby table observed this couple and begin to feel sorry for them. He offered to buy them another meal, but the old man respectfully declined saying that they were used to sharing everything.
The old man began to eat his food while his wife sat still, not eating. The young man continued to watch the old couple feeling there was something he should be doing to help. As the old man finished his half of the burger and fries, the old lady still had not started eating hers.
The young man couldn’t take it anymore. He asked, “Ma’am, why aren’t you eating?” The old lady looked up and politely said, pointing to the old man, “I’m waiting on the teeth.”
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