Curated Leadership for Today's World

Can You Ever Really Bury the Hatchet?

Posted on 09 November 2010

After last week’s election results I hear a lot about “burying the hatchet”. In essence, the new strategy is to forget about all that happened in the past and move towards the future without any recollection of what’s previously transpired. While this may be admirable, this is certainly not feasible unless everything in the present situation (who, where, when and what) is completely changed from the past. The only time I have ever heard of such a permanent reversal in events is when people become cleansed by the blood of Christ per the Holy Bible’s plan of salvation.

I remember a time in my career when I was at odds with another commander in our military unit. We had very different priorities and ideas about what constituted safety and compliance. One Christmas, this person said to me that in the spirit of the season, we should bury the hatchet. Problem is, unless something is dramatically altered, there is no chance of this happening.

It’s like the dog that has fleas. I can dip him in a flea bath and get rid of the little buggers, but unless I change his bedding and where he lives and what he rolls around in, he’s going to get fleas again and again. The flea hatchet will rear its ugly head repeatedly unless something is significantly altered. And if the thing that requires significant alteration is held as a non-negotiable by either party, there will be no burying of anything. The only thing that will exist is the reality of what’s about to transpire: the exact same thing as before.

So before you offer an olive branch, wave the white flag, or say the words “bury the hatchet”, make sure that you are ready and willing to completely alter something in yourself or something that significantly impacts you. Otherwise, the only thing you're going to bury is your own credibility.

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