Can disparate forces that appear to be absolutely inimical to each other find a way to not only talk to each other but also reach a mutually beneficial agreement?
In her book “The Art of Leading Collectively,” Petra Kuenkel describes just such a situation when collaborators were openly hostile to each other.
Representatives of the coffee industry and international NGOs worked successfully on the rules of participation for a global initiative for sustainable coffee production.
It isn’t always easy, but Keunkel writes that she observed the pattern of six human competencies in interaction
* A sense of future possibilities. The seemingly impossible had become possible because people had grown together beyond their differences of opinion, business rationale, culture, earnings and worldviews.
* Engagement. All participants were prepared to take a risk, to venture into an unknown territory with uncertain outcomes, despite difficulties justifying their actions to superiors.
* Innovation. They were jointly and across institutions piloting an innovation by building an industry-wide value-chain community.
* Humanity. They had reached into their own humanity and were able to see the person behind a viewpoint and intention behind a position.
* Collective intelligence. The patience to listen to even the most critical stakeholders enabled an approach that would work for small-scale farmers as well as large-scale producers.
* Wholeness. People had empowered one another to jointly make a difference.