Collaborating with the enemy : how to work with people you don't agree with or like or trust / Adam Kahane ; drawings by Jeff Barnum.

Main Author: Kahane, Adam,
Published: Oakland, CA : Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., [2017]
Edition: First edition.
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Collaboration is increasingly difficult and increasingly necessary

Often, to get something done that really matters to us, we need to work with people we don't agree with or like or trust. Adam Kahane has faced this challenge many times, working on big issues like democracy and jobs and climate change and on everyday issues in organizations and families. He has learned that our conventional understanding of collaboration-that it requires a harmonious team that agrees on where it's going, how it's going to get there, and who needs to do what-is wrong. Instead, we need a new approach to collaboration that embraces discord, experimentation, and genuine cocreation-which is exactly what Kahane provides in this groundbreaking and timely book.

Table of Contents


p. ix

Peter Block


p. xvii

Introduction: How to Work with People: You Don't Agree with or Like or Trust

p. 1

1Collaboration is Becoming More: Necessary and More Difficult

p. 5

"I could never work with those people!"

p. 5

The enemyfying syndrome

p. 7

The central challenge of collaboration

p. 9

2Collaboration is Not the Only Option

p. 11

The way forward is unclear

p. 12

"The miraculous option is that we work things through together"

p. 12

There are three alternatives to collaboration

p. 15

Collaboration must be a choice

p. 18

3Conventional, Constricted Collaboration Is Becoming Obsolete

p. 25

Constriction prevents movement

p. 25

Change management assumes control

p. 26

"There is only one right answer"

p. 29

The limitations of conventional collaboration

p. 31

4Unconventional, Stretch Collaboration is Becoming Essential

p. 39

Stretching creates flexibility and discomfort

p. 39

How to end a civil war

p. 41

Stretch collaboration abandons the illusion of control

p. 46

5The First Stretch Is To Embrace: Conflict and Connection

p. 49

Dialogue is not enough

p. 49

There is more than one whole

p. 55

Every holon has two drives

p. 59

Alternate power and love

p. 61

6The Second Stretch is to Experiment: A Way Forward

p. 69

We cannot control the future, but we can influence it

p. 69

We are crossing the river by feeling for stones

p. 75

Creativity requires negative capability

p. 80

Listen for possibility rather than for certainty

p. 82

7The Third Stretch is to Step into the Game

p. 89

"They need to change!"

p. 90

If you're not part of the problem, you can't be part of the solution

p. 93

Be a pig rather than a chicken

p. 96

Conclusion: How to Learn to Stretch

p. 99


p. 109


p. 115


p. 118

About the Author

p. 126

About Reos Partners

p. 128

A Note from the Artist, Jeff Barnum

p. 130