In principle, when things are not right, a natural instinct is to want someone else to do something different or to want a policy to be different, but rarely are these the best solutions. It is easy to think my problem would be solved if only you would change. It is easy to think that the law or policy is wrong, rather than me. Sometimes laws or other people’s attitudes or behaviors need to change, but it is often most effective to change my own attitudes or behaviors.
Practical Tip: Before going to the leaders of my group and suggesting a policy change, or before going to another group member and suggesting they should change, I ask, “What is my part in this? What can I change about my own attitude or behavior to fix things?” If I have answered those questions, acted on the answers, and still things aren’t right, then I ask my group or fellow group member to consider a change.
When we work to change a governing policy to fix an isolated problem, it can be hugely inefficient for many people. When we work to change the behaviors of others without willingness to change ourselves, it can take huge amounts of energy and result in damaged relations.
To help the efficiency of collaborative decisions the first question is not, “What should he or she or they do to make things better?” but rather, “What am I going to do to make things better?”
– Craig Freshley