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.
This is a breakthrough book. And in this era of unprecedented polarization and volatility it should be required reading for all. It will not only change the way we think about collaboration, it will also set a new standard for how one embarks on collaboration in the most conflictual of situations. Adam Kahane takes us from grand theories to practical steps we all can apply in our personal and professional endeavors. Most books make promises. This book delivers! Adam Kahane taps his enviable experience over a long career addressing some of the world’s most pressing and seemingly refractory problems. With humility and openness, he shares his reflections and learnings on what worked and what didn’t work and what he could have done differently. His new insights for working constructively with people we don’t agree with, like, trust or consider the enemy really work! I say having first hand experience seeing him and his team deal with such thorny issues as concentrated urban poverty and related inequities in the inner city. I found myself deeply influenced, motivated, and inspired concluding that real systemic change is possible. He offers a fundamentally different look at dialogue and conversation, desperately needed in these polarized environments. And no one makes the challenges of what he refers to as ‘stretch’ collaboration more understandable and manageable. There is no better time than now to immerse oneself in Collaboration With The Enemy – a time when “collaboration is increasingly difficult and increasingly necessary.”