I’ve heard that an open hand is more powerful than a closed fist. The first time I heard it was when I was a youngster. I’d just come out on the short end of a schoolyard scuffle and I have to admit, my bloody nose suggested a closed fist had plenty of power. Especially when aimed at my face.
Of course the saying isn’t meant as a literal reference. We just made it through a terribly negative political campaign which some would say is the epitome of closed fist philosophy. But I believe what we saw was merely the outgrowth of a closed fist approach that our government leaders have embraced for many years. In a country that has serious problems to tackle, we’ve spent too many years doing nothing, unless you count blaming the other side as doing something.
Before I get reaction of a political nature, understand that I’m using our current political culture as an example of an unproductive process. No matter which side you affiliate with, and who you think bears the majority of blame, I think we can all agree that the general approach of not working together, the essence of a closed fist approach, has yielded next to nothing in terms of actual solutions.
Now think of an open hand. It usually elicits concepts such as compromise, partnership and accomplishment. These are the things that drive action and forward progress and that’s where the real power lies.
It’s important to recognize the difference when it comes to your business and your employees. Thanksgiving is upon us and the power of a sincere thanks, of offering an open hand when dealing with the people around you, has never been greater.