Appealing to the nobler motives

“The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

There are really not that many villains in the world. There are few people who sit wringing their hands and uttering a maniacal laugh as they plot evil schemes to conquer their fellow humans. Really, most people want to do the right thing.

Most people not only want to do the right thing, they want others to know that they are doing the right things for the right reasons. Heck, even the maniacal hang wringers want others to think that they have high-minded, noble motives.

Gandhi’s quote serves as a reminder of all this. Gandhi reminds us that what people think about how we are doing what we do matters. It matters because it is about our reputation. Once tainted, a reputation is hard to repair, so people will go to great lengths to protect theirs.

If we are working to Win People to Our Way of Thinking, it is good to remember this simple truth. As we are working our way to agreement, we know that if we appeal to a person’s sense of fair play, of doing what is right, of acting for the general good, of supporting the company’s goals, and so on, most people will want to follow along.

Most people will even set aside their own interests for the common good, and for the higher minded motives.

Now, a word of caution for you, and it is one we’ve touched on before. If you used the notion of appealing to noble motives as a way to manipulate others, then you will soon be found out. And, guess what, your reputation will be damaged, and your motives forever questioned.

So, as we are working our way towards a meeting of the minds, we can apply …

Principle 19 – Appeal to the nobler motives.

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