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Hi,

 I have been watching this conservative/liberal tread from the beginning  and have learned a lot from all of you. Thank you. I am prompted to join in by both Greg’s comment on loss and Rose’s earlier comments about a third way and the creative possibilities of human conversation.

 

I have a few thoughts to share.

 

First, loss is essential for growth, life, and learning. It is not an inherently bad thing. We let go of old clothes,  ideas, schools, etc. as we grow. Our minds are designed to forget so we have the room to process new ideas and to survive painful memories. We are programmed to “shed our skin”. How we as individuals and leaders frame loss is essential to whether growth and new possibilities can emerge. If we, or our constituents, always hold loss as only the opposite of win, then we enter our conversations in a binary mental prison that restricts the possibility of growth and creativity. As facilitators and architects of conversations,  we need to pay a lot of attention to how we internally and overtly frame “loss”.  The fact is that there are many possibilities – stalemate, lose/lose, win/lose and win/win. The more polarized the group, the more we need to work on setting the frame and the architecture for a win/win conversation.  

 

My experience tells me this requires paying a lot of attention up front to who will be in the conversation so you can  articulate a win/win possibility in the  very question that  you are asking. One tool that I have found very helpful  is Juanita Brown and Eric Vogt’s ‘The Art of Powerful Questions” . In preparing for a conversation I often teach the tool to a subset of the group and we co-create the question. This can help establish  some common ground and trust. It enables the group to surface some obvious assumptions that might get in the way, to define common shared stakes and to have the conversation they really want to have.

 

For those of you not familiar with the work, it takes you through a continuum of how to think about the linguistic structure  and relative power of questions. It helps the group move away from binary win/lose questions like ‘Should we have a public option?” or poorly phrased “how” questions like, “How should we reform health insurance?” (a question that might  lead to  the avoidance of the principles conversation that Obama is being accused of in the Mansfield article). A truly powerful question might be  “How might we best use our resources to insure a physically and fiscally healthier America?”. The powerful question invites creativity and win/win.

 

I hope this is helpful,

Barbara Simonetti

Conversation Architect

Meetings That Matter

 


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NCDD's discussion and announcement lists are generously provided by L-Soft ( www.lsoft.com ) and are powered by L-Soft's LISTSERV mailing list management software ( www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html ). Learn more about NCDD's email lists in the community section of the NCDD website ( www.thataway.org/community/lists/ ). Please read this mailing list's rules ( www.thataway.org/community/listrules ) before you post.