Beyond the Build

Leadership

The Orange.

I was reminded recently of a story someone told me years ago while I was attending the Center Build Conference in Phoenix. it went something like this: There was a conflict brewing in a restaurant kitchen. Two sous chefs were at each other’s throats with butcher knives in hand. (Maybe not quite, but a fight was about to ensue.) They were arguing over an orange they both felt entitled to. Neither one of them was listening, as they were so focused on their own needs and getting that piece of fruit.

As it turns out, one chef needed the meat of the orange for a dessert and the other needed the peel for garnishment. Neither listened to the other, and they probably said things they should not have in the process, all for nothing.

In the end, all was good. They each shared the orange and got what they wanted.

The moral of the story is that it often makes sense to pick up the phone and just talk before raising arms. Listen with both ears, as I often share around our place. At times, conflicts can have a simple resolution.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.