I am surprised when I see folks who I consider as rational and impartial, ignore the value of a message just because it came from someone who they do not approve of. I know, I know, it’s a natural human tendency to first measure the person who is communicating the message and then the message (if at all). But, if the content of the message is valuable and holds ground, it should not matter who the message comes from. Lately, I am encountering this at work on an alarmingly regular basis. We are going through a very difficult time and I can see an approaching train wreck in the near future. Any innovative ideas are always welcome which may tide us through toward a collective success (success in this case equates to avoiding that impending train-wreck). However, the leadership around me tends to ignore some valuable input and thought-ware just because they come from the mouths of those they don’t hold in high regard or are quite low on the value-chain within the organization. It is an altogether sad situation.
Yes, yes, there are times when you know the messenger is nothing but full of hot air or a straight-faced liar, and it’s really hard to take their message at face value. I am not making a case for these scenarios, I am talking about the ones where we don’t traditionally agree with the other party because the other party’s ideologies and principles don’t mesh with ours or we assume the other person is not experienced enough to provide any input. It would benefit us all if we disassociated the message from the messenger and evaluated the content of the message, the thought, the idea, purely on the merit of the message and not the baggage we carry about the messenger. Imagine if we followed this in life, in our societal interactions, in governance, in our relationships with family, friends, spouses, partners, etc. A number of conflict situations in our day to day lives could arrive at a resolution with much less friction only if we truly tried to focus on the spirit of the message and not tie it to the person who is making the argument.