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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Collaborating with the EnemyHow to Work with People You Don't Agree with or Like or TrustWe're trying to get something done that really matters to us. To do this we need to work with others. But these others include people we don't agree with or like or trust, so working with them seems impossible-like collaborating with the enemy. What can we do?International consultant Adam Kahane, whose work has been praised by Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Juan Manuel Santos, has faced this challenge many times in working both on big issues, like economic restructuring, climate change, and civil war, and on ordinary issues within organizations and families. He has come to understand that everything we think we know about collaboration-that it requires a harmonious team that agrees on where it's going and how it's going to get there-is wrong. On the contrary, the only way to get things done with diverse others is to abandon harmony, agreement, and control and to learn to work with discord, experimentation, and genuine cocreation. Kahane proposes a new approach to collaboration-stretch collaboration-that is built on this insight. He offers examples of how he's helped people apply it in all kinds of tough situations throughout the world. This approach requires stepping forward with openness and commitment, as in the words of poet Antonio Machado, "Walker, there is no path. The path is made by walking."As our societies have become more polarized and globalized and our organizations have become less hierarchical, more of us need to collaborate across more heterogeneous groups than ever before. This means that increasingly often we face situations where conventional collaboration does not work. Kahane's book offers a proven and practical approach to getting things done in such complex and conflictual contexts. It could not be more timely.

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