Adam Kahane’s new book - ‘Collaborating with the Enemy’ - is a must for anyone having to collaborate with diverse others whatever the context. Indeed, it should be recommended reading on leadership programmes where there is a need to work across organisational and/or cultural boundaries. With the economic situation as it is, collaboration is fundamental to the sustainability of services.
To begin with oneself...' is a maxim that can trip glibly off the tongue, but Adam takes us below the surface. With honesty, humility and pragmatism he shows why we must change ourselves before we can reach out and fully connect with others who don't share our view.
"Collaborating with others, especially others who we do not agree with or like or trust us, requires us to join with them as equals".
Many of the case studies in the book relate to ‘high stakes’ fraught and sometimes warring situations. However, I would urge the reader not to be put off thinking that ‘Collaborating with the Enemy’ is less relevant if their collaborative assignments are more in the mainstream. I struggled with the language initially, especially ‘enemy’ and ‘fight’. However, having read all of Adam’s previous books I’ve always found something that resonates with my work in an organisational context. They prod and challenge. They change the conversations.
When faced with the need to work with others who hold opposing views Adam maintains that we tend to assume one of four positions. We collaborate, force, adapt or exit. However, our work environments nowadays are so complex that conventional notions of collaboration can be too limited.