Conversations That Matter

Adam Kahane: Collaborating with the Enemy

January 19, 2018

Ep 174 Adam Kahane
Collaborating With The Enemy
If living in a participatory democracy means getting involved, one of the first obstacles lying in wait is the other people, also wanting to participate, with different viewpoints that range from sympathetic to wildly controversial.

Dislike and distrust can run rampant. Arguments inevitably break out. Civil discourse turns into civil war with no solutions in sight. How then do you find the path toward solutions that benefit everyone? Traditionally it has been a top-down approach. Leaders go through the motions of listening to their constituents. Political agendas and special interest groups exert pressure to push ideologies, corporate needs, and profit margins. What we end up with is a complex system of legislation that takes a team of lawyers to understand. The average citizen is left frustrated and feeling like they cannot make a difference.

We also know it isn’t working well. Housing, jobs, homelessness, the opioid crisis, land claims and even traffic are being politicized. The solutions are messy, at times ineffective or worse, compound the problem.

What then? It's easy to point fingers and blame others, to find an enemy and fight against them. Adam Kahane, a conflict resolution specialist who has worked on seemingly intractable global crises such as the civil war in Columbia and the turmoil in Guatemala, points out we have to set aside the hierarchical approach and learn to accept that finding solutions requires a shift to collaborative thinking.

We asked Adam Kahane to join us for a Conversation That Matters about a model of collaboration with people whom we disagree which leads to outcomes that improve lives and meet the needs of the people who need solutions the most.
Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue presents Conversations That Matter. Join veteran Broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for an important and engaging Conversation about the issues shaping our future.
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