Author Interview: Lisa Earle McLeod, The Triangle of Truth


I am a fan of simplicity, especially when it comes to ways to resolve differing opinions. The Triangle of Truth by Lisa Earle McLeod is a book that is practical, providing a simple model to find our way through conflict in our professional and personal lives. This interview will provide you with some of the background on why the book was written and describe some techniques to find peace in your relationships. But if you really want to know more, consider purchasing the book, a wonderfully quick read, and then visit  for tools you can put to use in all of your conflict situations.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, business consultant, and inspirational thought-leader whose work has been seen in the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine,, the Huffington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. Author of Forget Perfect, and a repeat guest on Good Morning America, Lisa speaks internationally and has been seen everywhere from town halls to major corporations. She lives in the Atlanta area with her husband and two children. Visit her website at

What prompted you to write Triangle of Truth?

Sex, politics and business.  

I kept seeing the same problem in every arena: Either/or thinking.  Whenever it’s a relationship issue,  a political quagmire or a business battle, it’s same dynamic over and over again.  Both sides think they’re right, and don’t want to budge.   We’ve been told to compromise, but it never works, because in many cases both sides ARE right.  The problem is that they’re approach the argument from an either/or mind set. 

The Triangle of Truth show you how to harness the power of AND. 

We then to think of arguments as a straight line, your truth is on one side, their truth is on the other and we’re supposed to meet in the middle.  But the  Triangle of Truth model, is about finding a solution at the top of the triangle.  One that supports you both. In most cases our truths aren’t conflicting, they’re complimentary. 

Can you explain what the Triangle of Truth is and what it can do for relationships?

There’s nothing like the dysfunctions of others to bring out the beast in us. And nothing puts us over the edge quicker than someone who refuses to see or admit the truth.

We all have people in our lives who drive us nuts.  But we often find ourselves so frustrated with their narrow-minded, misguided, either/or way of thinking that we often succumb to same type of either/or thinking ourselves.

We start to think that because they are so very wrong about so many things, they’re wrong about everything.

The little voice in our head is screaming, “She’s nuts.” We know the “truth,” and we often wan to make sure everybody else knows it.

The Triangle of Truth model alleviates this problem because it enables you to see a person’s dysfunctions AND their positive attributes at the same time.

The Triangle of Truth enables you to see the REAL truth about other people. Yes they are crazy, AND there’s also another side to them, even if you can’t see it. 

The truth is we’re all flawed, AND we’re also all fabulous. Our flaws may camouflage our magnificence, but they don’t negate it.

Once you accept the duality of everyone, you can hold onto the idea that they’re nuts AND they’re normal at the same time.

As someone who has to deal with certain unnamed crazy people on a regular basis, I can tell you that it works. When someone pushes my buttons, I take a deep breath and repeat to myself, “Everyone is flawed, AND everyone is fabulous.” It helps me reframe the situation.

You’ve heard the expression, “You can be right or you can be happy”? The Triangle of Truth allows you to be both.

You describe uses for the Triangle of Truth in both the personal and professional realm. Is it equally effective in both? Why or why not?

We take the same brain everywhere we go. We may dress up our act at work, but either/or thinking is a mental thought pattern that shows up in every area of our lives. So the model applies anywhere you interact with each other.  We act like work and home are these separate areas, but have you ever lived with someone having career problems? Or worked with someone going through a divorce?

If we change the way we relate to each other, it changes the way we approach our entire lives. Work/life is much more a blend than a balance.

People are people wherever they go, and when they become smarter about one thing, it radiate out onto everything else.

Learning to use the Triangle of Truth has made me a better mother, a better spouse AND a better business coach.

Can you provide an example of a leader who successfully used the Triangle of Truth model and how it worked for him or her?

I have a CEO client who used it to solve a turf war.  The typical turf war occurs not because people are evil or self-absorbed, but because people actually care about their jobs and their organizations, and they have expertise in their subject matter area.

But when they bump up against people who have different perspectives, instead of seeing it for what is – two teams of people who care about their role and job function – we attach all kinds of emotion to it and attribute ill-intent. People get angry, tempers flare, and then the imagined ill intent and deviousness becomes real.

The Triangle of Truth stops that process before it starts. Not only do you get things done more peacefully, but here’s the kicker that CEOs love – you get things done FASTER. 

In the case of my CEO client we found that after using the Triangle of Truth, they didn’t waste time jockeying for position, with each group trying to prove their department’s truth  and undermine everyone else’s.

We’ve also found that the solutions people create with the Triangle of Truth are more robust, they have better buy-in and they deliver better, longer-lasting results.

The Triangle of Truth is conflict resolution tool, but it’s also a model for igniting creativity, inspiring greatness, and it’s a catalyst for creating new models of success in our work, homes, and communities.

The ability to assimilate seemingly conflicting perspectives has been the invisible under-pinning behind our greatest success, public and private.  Elvis did it when he combined country with gospel, Einstein did it when he combined science and religion, and Mary Kay created a break out business model by combining selling and nurturing. 

The Triangle of Truth provides a model for everyday people to tap into that wisdom.

Where can people find the tools that will help them to use the Triangle of Truth?  – we offer free tools like 7 simple ways to harness the power of AND, 10 great Questions To Ask Your Spouse, Coworker or Prospect, and tons more, all free. 

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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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