From Conflict to Collaboration to Our Shared Future
by David B. Savage, March 2016
So much of what we believe is right and common sense does not seem like right or common sense to others. So much of what we believe is right and common sense in our community and our natural world does not seem like right or common sense to others. So much of what we believe is right and common sense in our profession and our business does not seem like right or common sense to others. The stakes for ourselves, our communities, our organizations, our nation and our world seem to escalate. So much challenge, conflict, and change is happening now. We have never been here before. Elders are limited in their guidance to us. Where may we turn for wisdom?
Together A Forest is the prologue to my new book Break Through To Yes creates a metaphor for how we sustain one another and stand together. “Trees collaborate in nature, but have no knowledge of collaboration in the face of human destruction. Humans collaborate and can learn together to change what seems to be tragic, inevitable consequences.” Our forests, now more than ever, are at risk from ignorance, separation, haters, fire starters, and wall builders.
Will this decade mean the end of the world as we know it? Yes. Here’s why:
When I spoke at Pepperdine University, Santa Monica, California, in 2014, a Judge approached me and asked; “David, you are different. Are you an environmentalist or an oil man?” I am both. I am more. We are both. We are more.
When I spoke to outraged landowners near Provost, Alberta, that same year, I was told; “You are a spokesperson for wind farms, get out!”
When I negotiated in 2015 for those against a “mountain removal” proposal to strip mine for coal in Blairmore, Alberta, I was told; “You are a environmentalist and that will cost us jobs!”
As I prepare to help create dialogue on critical conversations about energy and sustainability (renewables, nuclear and more), in April 2016, in San Luis Obispo, California, one leader tells me; “You have a background in oil and gas, you are not welcome.”
We see outrage, ignorance and “us” versus “them”, heroes and villains constantly being highlighted in conversations, politics, media and social media.
Do you commit to build walls? or
Do you commit to breaking them down?
While helping others come together, embrace conflict and work together is not easy, it is profound work.
In 2013, we founded CGI; “The Collaborative Global Initiative (CGI) serves organizations by stepping into challenging situations on important issues where we design processes to create respectful learning dialogue while the participants learn to resolve conflict and create shared value for planet, people and profit.” www.collaborativeglobalinitiative.com
I am a proponent of creating shared value based on our shared values and our vision for our shared future. I am a proponent of intelligent, inclusive, respectful and creative dialogue. To my oil and gas friends, I am an outlier for change. I challenge them. I incite insurgency through collaboration. For my indigenous friends, I am the same. For my sustainability friends, I am the same. I stand for we.
My new book Break Through To Yes: Unlocking Possibility within a Culture of Collaboration is dedicated to;
To our grandmothers and grandfathers.
To our granddaughters and grandsons.
To all who believe leading for “we” is greater than leading for “me.”
We see the massive challenges facing our youth, our aboriginal peoples, entrepreneurs, our communities and our earth experience. There is a way to enlighten these conversations and challenges.
Consider that all the expertise and experience we each have may not be enough to effectively and successfully deal with the great challenges we face today as individuals, families, organizations, professions and nations. Consider the collective wisdom that is possible from a circle of listening, speaking, understanding and co-creating solutions.
This is an invitation to engage with people who care about subjects and questions that matter to you and your organization. Your circle or team will be most successful in solving significant challenges when you bring in others whose opinions and experiences are very different from yours. We can no longer afford “groupthink” or “yes men.” The stakes are high. We must invite in the First Nations, the environmentalists, the Americans, the Asians, the youth, the wise women and all.
We must embrace conflict. We will create a healthy, inclusive and sustainable future together.
Share your vision and let’s work together using my 10 Essential Steps to Collaboration to Make It So (#10).
This includes excerpts from Break Through To Yes: Unlocking the Possible within a Culture of Collaboration. Available now at all major and many independent books stores.
Prologue: Together a Forest
Part One: Why I Believe in the Urgency of Collaboration
Part Two: The Discipline of Collaboration
Part Three: The 10 Essential Steps to Collaboration
Part Four: Break Through
Wisdom from My 100 Advisers