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Common Ground

Elizabeth Burke

Consciously decide to give more attention to where we agree than where we don't. By tuning in to what we share, we find the way to make progress together.


comes out of complexity of many viewpoints
when many constituencies come together

where do interests and needs overlap
at the heart of any negotiation
how can we get a sense so that people are
values, perspectives, dreams, needs, cultural
what's possible here and who cares
what's the overall goal or aim
emotional transition point when everyone in the room sees their commonality
move forward from that basis
naming common ground then leads to drilling down or more specifics
creates movement to somewhere else
solidarity, political awakening, a possible bridging
based on felt sense of core rather than every detail
bypass sticky details, wording, some implementation
in decision-making, consensus has a higher threshold of agreement than majority voting which only needs 51% common ground to move forward

Cautions & Caveats:
If run over too many details or differences, could come back and cause trouble later. Is this a core issue or not? Know when to work on the differences.
Common ground, seeking consensus or agreement too early or too easily may lead to the danger of GroupThink


Future Search classic exampleArnie Mindell example in Northern Ireland re gender vs. religious differences (Sue W.)Public Conversations ProjectTranspartisan Alliance - corporate conversation