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Tom Gores on Establishing Common Ground, Listening to Other Perspectives to Get Things Done

Key Takeaways 

  • Ask “why” to partners and connections often to establish common ground and better points of view.  
  • Take advantage of the opportunity within the crisis. 

Mike Tirico, NBC Sports Host, sat down with Tom Gores, chairman and chief executive officer of Platinum Equity and owner of the Detroit Pistons, Thursday at the 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference. During the discussion, Gores commented on establishing common ground and listening to other perspectives in the workplace, philanthropy, and activism.   

Tirico and Gores began the conversation by discussing Gores’ ties to Michigan and his continuous journey of philanthropy and activism in his personal life, which he takes personal obligation for because “Michigan did a lot” for him.

“It’s not a matter of wanting to, it’s just a responsibility [to help people specifically in Michigan]. We’ve made a lot of impact, but it’s not moving fast enough, which is disappointing,” Gores said. “I have a lot of work to do for this community. I’m excited about making change.” 

The conversation continued to talk about how sports and business can come together in polarizing times. With the number of efforts Gores and his organizations have launched within the City of Detroit alone, how do they make it all happen in the first place? Gores stressed the importance of establishing common ground and asking “why and why not” often to build better leadership and understanding of each other. 

“You have to establish common ground, which means we have to listen to each other. As much division we have, we also have a lot of misunderstanding,” Gores said. “…we have to ask our partners and people we talk to ‘why,’ whether or not they’re wrong. You [also] have to start with the ‘why’ because if you don’t, then you’re just giving orders, and not leading.”  

Rounding off the conversation, Gores expressed his worry about how the world responds to crises reactively before publicizing his plan to give $100 million to an undisclosed community center project, expected to be announced before the end of 2022. 

“I feel like in our world, especially in our social progress, we’re controlled by crisis. And while we’re controlled by crisis, we don’t pursue opportunity,” Gores said. “We’re going to have more problems. But what are we doing about creating inspiration and opportunities to go forward for the children?”