Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power Of Conversation In A Polarized World by Jason JayBreaking Through Gridlock: The Power Of Conversation In A Polarized World by Jason Jay

Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power Of Conversation In A Polarized World

byJason Jay, Gabriel Grant

Paperback | May 22, 2017

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Think about the last time you tried to talk with someone who didn't already agree with you about issues that matter most. How well did it go? These conversations are vital, but too often get stuck. They become contentious or we avoid them because we fear they might. What if, in these difficult conversations, we could stay true to ourselves while enriching relationships and creating powerful pathways forward? What if our divergent values provided healthy fuel for dialogue and innovation instead of gridlock and polarization? Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant invite us into a spirit of serious play, laughing at ourselves while moving from self-reflection to action. Using enlightening exercises and rich examples, Breaking through Gridlock helps us become aware of the role we unwittingly play in getting conversations stuck. It empowers us to share what really matters – with anyone, anywhere – so that together we can create positive change in our families, organizations, communities, and society.
Jason J. Jay is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan. Gabriel Grant is the CEO of Human Partners and cofounder of the Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation.
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Title:Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power Of Conversation In A Polarized WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.6 × 0.62 inPublished:May 22, 2017Publisher:Berrett-koehlerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1626568952

ISBN - 13:9781626568952

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Table of Contents

Contents Exercises x Figures xi Tables xii Foreword xiii Preface: How this book came to be xvii Our journey xix
 A note on our language xxii Introduction: How to use this book 1 Serious play 2
 A note on the exercises 4 
Introduction summary 7 1 How We Get Stuck: Breakdowns in conversation 9 The power of conversation 10 
Start where you are 15 
Focus on real, live conversations 17 Power plays can’t help you strengthen relationships 21 Framing breaks down in unfamiliar and polarized situations 22
 Start with authenticity 26 What’s possible 27 Chapter 1 summary 28 2 (In)Authenticity: The key to getting unstuck 29 Consistency with the past can lead to getting stuck 30 Dynamic authenticity is aligned with the future 31 Dynamic authenticity is a team sport 36 Chapter 2 summary 39 3 Know What You Bring: The hidden baggage of conversations 41 Our way of being is tied with our background conversation 43
 Our ways of being are shared 46
 Uncover your background conversations 51 Ways of being can be tricky to see 55 Is being in the eye of the beholder? 58 Being and inauthenticity 59
 Chapter 3 summary 60 4 Locate the Bait: What we gain when conversations lose 61 You got yourself stuck 65
 Pitfalls: Background conversations that get us stuck 67 Identifying the bait helps you get unstuck 74 Bait usually involves right, righteous, certain, and safe 76 Map out your pitfall 78
 Chapter 4 summary 81 
 5 Dare to Share: Moving past the talking points 83 Connect with internal motivations 86
 Express what you really want 96
 Embody your new way of being 104 Chapter 5 summary 108 6 Start Talking: Bringing conversations back to life 109 The power of apology 113 
You will encounter a variety of responses 122
 Results require action, and action requires commitment 123 Chapter 6 summary 127 7 Embrace the Tension: How our differences can make a difference 129 Clarify values 131
 Own the polarization 135
 Expand the landscape 142 
Dance in the new terrain 149 
Chapter 7 summary 151 8 Widen the Circle: Building inclusive movements 153 Shared inquiry is required to change the collective conversation 156
 Each social movement has core tensions and pitfalls 157 Realist-visionary tensions are present in all social movements 160
 Movements can have collective bait and pitfalls 164 Find the possibility at the heart of our movements 170 We have only just begun to discover the pathways forward 178
 Chapter 8 summary 184 Notes 187 Bibliography 195 Acknowledgments 201 Index 205 About the Authors 215 Exercises 1 Where do you want to break through gridlock 3 2 Identify stuck conversations 18 3 What does authenticity mean to you? 29 4 What does authenticity mean to you? (ont) 34 5 Choose a buddy 37 6 Our unspoken background conversation 52 7 identify your ways of being 54 8 The Spoken conversation 52 9 The cost of being stuck 67 10 Recognize pitfall 73 11 Identify the bait in the trap 78 12 Map the pitfall 79 13 why is your endeavor important to you? 87 14 Notice what motivations you're sharing or not sharing 93 15 envision what you really want 97 16 create a new way of being 99 17 guided meditation 100 18 reframe the problem 106 19 build a new conversation 112 20 write a letter 121 21 conversation commitment 124 22 your values, their values 134 23 your values, their values 142 24 go beyond a one-dimensional conversation 147 25 brainstorm ideas that break trade-offs between values and objectives 149 26 Core tensions in your movement 163 27 locate the collective bait 169 28 envision the future together 172 29 transform the central conversation of your movement 175 30 create pathways for yourself and your movement 180 31 commit to action 182 Figures 1 our way of being gives rise to what we do and the results we have 44 2 ways of being when people are stuck 48 3 new ways of being created by our workshops participants 102 4 spheres of care 133 5 trade-offs between parts and wholes 136 6 when we perceive a fundamental trade-off between values, the best we can imagine is compromising one for the other 137 7 a on-dimensional conversation in the corporate and investing world 143 8 a common mental model of the trade-offs between performance and impact 145 9 breaking trade-offs through innovation 146 10 competing objectives 147 11 compromise or innovation? 148 12 ways of being expressed inside a positive future 173 Tables 1 statistic authenticity versus dynamic authenticity 33 2 thirty most frequently mentioned traits of a "typical" environmentalist 50 3 a few common pitfalls 68 4 elements of wholehearted and effective apologias 114 5 examples of people's acknowledgments of the pitfalls they have created 117 6 pathways forward 179

Editorial Reviews

“A field manual for change agents on how to build bridges across differences and move from talk to action.” —Adam Grant, Professor of Management, The Wharton School, and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take “This book is not for the fainthearted, but if you truly want to change the world, it gives us the tools and the inspiration to do so.” —Gwen Ruta, Senior Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund “Our country’s future depends on our ability to reach beyond our echo chambers. Jay and Grant guide us through starting the conversations so crucial to our democracy.” —Van Jones, cofounder and President, The Dream Corps; CNN contributor; and author “We need the creativity that can be harnessed from competing perspectives to craft a thriving organization and a thriving society. This book gives people the tools to take that on.” —John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market “Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant single out authenticity as the key to breaking through the conversational gridlock that afflicts so many of our public and private interactions. They highlight the traps we fall into, as well as promising pathways for working our way out of them. It won’t be easy, but you can use the exercises they offer to practice sidestepping the polarizing moves we make without even being aware of what we are doing.” —Lawrence Susskind, founder of the Consensus Building Institute; Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, MIT; and Vice Chair, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School “Whether you're hoping to shift your company, your community, or even yourself, Jay and Grant have produced an accessible and practical guide that will make you chuckle with recognition—then motivate you to get to work.” —Christine Bader, author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist "In this savvy and highly practical book, Gabriel Grant and Jason Jay offer a way forward for groups that get stuck in seemingly hopeless, zero-sum conflicts. It should be required reading not only for corporate offices but also for congregations who preach unity and peace, but don’t always know how best to achieve them. And in a period of real polarization and deep division in our national culture, this is a book for our time." — The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, XXVII Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church "Conversations are the most important leverage point for leaders and change makers. Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant offer critical insights and tools that will help you craft better conversations and thus a better world." — Otto Scharmer, Founder, Presencing Institute, and author of Theory U and Leading from The Emerging Future