Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities

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9781576752937: Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities

Adam Kahane spent years working in the world's hotspots, and came away with a new understanding of how to resolve conflict in a way that seems reasonable - and doable - to all parties. The result is Solving Tough Problems. Written in a relaxed, persuasive style, this is not a ""how-to"" book with glib answers, but rather, a very personal story of the author's progress from a young ""expert"" convinced of the need to provide cold, ""correct"" answers to an effective facilitator of positive change - by learning how to create environments that enable new ideas and creative solutions to emerge. The book explores the connection between individual learning and institutional change, and how leaders can move beyond politeness and formal statements, beyond routine debate and defensiveness, toward deeper and more productive dialogue. Both tough and inspiring, the book explores models, technologies, and examples that foster and facilitate ""dialogues of the heart.""

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From the Publisher :

"This breakthrough book addresses the central challenge of our time: finding a way to work together to solve the problems we have created." -Nelson Mandela

"Solving Tough Problems offers a new approach to addressing peacefully our most complex and conflictual challenges-at home, at work, and in the larger world. Kahane reflects candidly and insightfully on his rich experience working with corporations, governments, and civil society organizations around the world. A fresh and valuable contribution from a pioneering practitioner." -William Ury, Associate Director, Program on Negotiation, Harvard University, and co-author Getting to Yes and The Third Side

"This book is rich with insights and inspiring examples that are very relevant to the global challenges we face today. In a dynamic and complex world in which escalating violence is fueled by clashing ideologies, we would all be well advised to give up dictating and knowing and take up listening and learning." -Debra Dunn, Senior Vice President, Hewlett-Packard Company

"This book should be read by everyone who is concerned with the quality of decision-making in our democracies." -Elena Martinez, Assistant Secretary General, United Nations

"Adam Kahane's book makes a strong case, woven together from fascinating inside stories about the really tough problems in the world, that success or failure depends on their leaders learning or not learning to listen. The book is recommended reading for all decision takers who find themselves dealing with tough problems." -Arie de Geus, former Group Planning Coordinator, Royal Dutch/Shell, and author of The Living Company

"This is a profound and important book. It is special in both the simplicity and authenticity of the writing, and the value and far reaching impact of its message. It offers a ways of thinking and acting that can heal the woundedness of our organizations and our communities. I recommend it wholeheartedly." -Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting, Stewardship, The Empowered Manager, The Answer to How Is Yes, and Freedom and Accountability at Work

"Many people have written about the healing power of dialogue. None, however, has put that power to the test under more extreme conditions with greater success than Adam Kahane. Informative, inspiring, and beautifully written. Highly recommended." -David Korten, President of the People-Centered Development Forum and author of When Corporations Rule the World

"This book includes the story of the Visión Guatemala team, in which a group of us, who in the ordinary course of events would never have met or worked together, had an unprecedented experience that opened up new horizons for us and for our country. Adam helped us cultivate our dreams and ideals, and gave us the energy and hope to act to renew our society." -Raquel Zelaya, former Cabinet Secretary of Peace, Guatemala

"Victory of the Open Heart speaks to the essence of true leadership: the capacity to sense and bring forth better futures. Kahane has a brilliant track record of helping highly diverse teams-within and across companies, governments, and civil society-lead together. In this beautiful, simple book, he reflects on his experiences and teaches us how we can, by changing how we work together and are together, change the world." -Joseph Jaworski, Chairman of the Global Leadership Project and author of Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership

"A book that needs to be read everywhere people have differences-in politics, the church, labor, the academy, and business. Kahane's message is wise, honest, and above all realistic. A gift for our time." -W. Brian Arthur, Citibank Professor, Santa Fe Institute

"A defining feature of our era is problems for which authoritarian, hierarchical leadership is inadequate. This book offers a rare glimpse into the profound personal and systemic shifts that can happen in settings when people give up waiting a solution from "on high" and begin to truly talk and listen to one another." -Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of technology; Chairman of the Society for Organizational Learning; author of The Fifth Discipline, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and The Dance of Change

"A seminal book. Exciting, vital, and essential reading." -Edgar H. Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management and author of Process Consulting

"This book offers us stories of profound transformation-and with a refreshing directness teaches us ways of talking and listening that can embrace the toughest problems. The packing of so much practical wisdom into such a small space creates a jewel of inspiration." -Betty Sue Flowers, Director, LBJ Library

"Adam Kahane is one of those rare action-intellectuals who combines a deep theoretical understanding of social change and group process with actual experience in situations of conflict and turmoil, where people are desperate for solutions but unable to secure what they need. Adam brings the catalyst for change." -James Garrison, President of State of the World Forum

"This book is a gem. It explains simply and eloquently the essence of the process of non-violent, voluntary transformational change in social systems that seem stuck in hopelessness. This book is in a class of its own." -Arun Maira, Chairman, The Boston Consulting Group India

"Adam Kahane has written a useful and powerful book. It turns out that the rational, structured approach is just the beginning. Success occurs only when people deeply listen and talk with each other." -Harrison Owen, author of Expanding Our Now, Tales from Open Space, and Open Space Technology "Adam Kahane pens his mind and heart in prose reminiscent of personal letters to an intelligent friend. His theme is simple and admirable: how to replace the power of violence with the power of listening-and-talking, of regenerative dialogue. His stories move me, unveiling, as no other book, how the informed and reflective heart is the essential compliment to rational, strategic thought." -Peter Warshall, editor, Whole Earth, the magazine of the Whole Earth Catalog

"Kahane puts into words wisdom glimpsed from the cauldron of real world experience. He renews our hope that it is possible to map a better future and sustains our faith that the heart can be a guide." -Alan Briskin, author of The Stirring of Soul in the Workplace

"Adam Kahane is one of those all too rare "warriors for peace" who is willing to immerse himself totally into our world's most intractable conflicts. In story after story, one witnesses the remarkable transformation of isolated individuals-separate, hostile, closed to one another, with fixed positions-into a single, complex, organism with a common goal, fresh thinking, and, most of all, hope. Kahane makes it crystal clear that deep talking and listening do not come easily, but when they do, the world moves." -Barry Oshry, author of Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life and Leading Systems: Lessons from the Power Lab

"Adam Kahane's book invites us to dare move back into that sacred space of silence: a space where we listen and hear with our hearts and not only with our heads. The stories he tells celebrate the amazing transformation that takes place when we have the courage to be vulnerable and speak openly and honestly: where passion is not used to defend an ideology or position, but is directed at enhancing a shared commitment for a common purpose. It is a book that needs to be read now." Njongonkulu Ndungane, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

About the Author :

Adam Kahane (Boston, MA) is a founding partner of Generon Consulting and of the Global Leadership Initiative. He is an expert in the design and facilitation of processes that help diverse groups of people work together to sense and actualize emerging futures. He has worked in this area with corporate leaders in more than 50 countries, in every part of the world, as well as with politicians and guerillas, civil servants and community activists, trade unionists and clergy. He is also a leading thinker and practitioner in the merging of strategic management, scenario thinking, and collaborative problem solving. Originally from Montreal, Adam lives in Boston and Cape Town with his wife Dorothy and his family.

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