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About Adam Kahane
Adam Kahane is a Director of Reos Partners (reospartners.com), an international social enterprise that helps people move forward together on their most important and intractable issues.
His home page is adamkahane.com.
Adam is a leading organizer, designer and facilitator of processes through which business, government, and civil society leaders can work together to address such challenges. He has worked in more than fifty countries, in every part of the world, with executives and politicians, generals and guerrillas, civil servants and trade unionists, community activists and United Nations officials, clergy and artists.
During the early 1990s, Adam was head of Social, Political, Economic and Technological Scenarios for Royal Dutch Shell in London. He has held strategy and research positions with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (San Francisco), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), the Institute for Energy Economics (Tokyo), and the Universities of Oxford, Toronto, British Columbia, California, and the Western Cape.
Adam has a B.Sc. in Physics (First Class Honours) from McGill University (Montreal), an M.A. in Energy and Resource Economics from the University of California (Berkeley), and an M.A. in Applied Behavioural Science from Bastyr University (Seattle). He has also studied negotiation at Harvard Law School and cello performance at Institut Marguerite-Bourgeoys.
Adam and his wife Dorothy live in Montreal and Cape Town.
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Books By Adam Kahane
To try to solve their toughest problems, people either push for what they want at all costs or try to completely avoid conflict. Adam Kahane argues that these two seemingly contradictory approaches are each a reflection of two distinct, fundamental drives: power, the single-minded desire to achieve one’s solitary purpose; and love, the drive towards unity. They are inextricable parts of human nature, so to achieve lasting change you have to able to work fluidly with both.
Kahane delves deeply in the dual nature of power and love, exploring their complex and intricate interplay. With disarming honesty he relates how, through trial and error, he learned to balance between them, shifting from one to the other as though learning to walk—at first falling, then stumbling forward, and finally moving purposefully toward true, lasting reconciliation and progress.
For the last twenty years Kahane has worked around the world on a variety of challenges: economic development, food security, health care, judicial reform, peacemaking, climate change. He has worked with diverse teams of leaders—executives and politicians, generals and guerillas, civil servants and trade unionists, community activists and United Nations officials, clergy and artists. He has seen, up close and personal, examples of inspiring progress and terrifying regress. Power and Love reports what he has learned from these hard-won experiences.
“This exceptionally brave book pierces to the heart of how we must act in the world we so want to change.” —Margaret J. Wheatley, bestselling author of Leadership and the New Science
Collaboration is increasingly difficult and increasingly necessary.
Often, to get something done that really matters to us, we need to work with people we don’t agree with or like or trust. Adam Kahane has faced this challenge many times, working on big issues like democracy and jobs and climate change and on everyday issues in organizations and families. He has learned that our conventional understanding of collaboration—that it requires a harmonious team that agrees on where it’s going, how it’s going to get there, and who needs to do what—is wrong. Instead, we need a new approach to collaboration that embraces discord, experimentation, and genuine cocreation—which is exactly what Kahane provides in this groundbreaking and timely book.
“Kahane shows that people who don’t see eye-to-eye really can come together to solve big challenges. Whether in our businesses, our governments, our communities, or our personal lives, we can all benefit from this smart and timely book.” —Mark Tercek, former President, The Nature Conservancy and coauthor of Nature’s Fortune
“Shows us how thinking and seeing differently can help us navigate this challenging landscape. Kahane abandons orthodoxy in taking on the most intransigent problems, showing us the path to effective action in a complex world.” —James Gimian, coauthor of The Rules of Victory
“Collaborating with the Enemy belongs on the same shelf as Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Machiavelli’s The Prince.” —Stephen Huddart, President, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
It is becoming less straightforward for people to move forward together. They face increasing complexity and decreasing control. They need to work with more people from across more divides. In such situations, the most common ways of advancing—some people telling others what to do, or everyone just doing what they think they need to—aren't adequate.
One better way is through facilitating. But the most common approaches to facilitating—bossy vertical directing from above or collegial horizontal accompanying from alongside—aren't adequate. They often leave the participants frustrated and yearning for breakthrough.
This book describes a new approach: transformative facilitation. It doesn't choose either the bossy vertical or the collegial horizontal approach: it cycles back and forth between them. Rather than forcing or cajoling, the facilitator removes the obstacles that stand in the way of people contributing and connecting equitably. It enables people to bring their whole selves to the process.
This book is for anyone who helps people work together to transform their situation, be it a professional facilitator, manager, consultant, coach, chairperson, organizer, mediator, stakeholder, or friend. It offers a broad and bold vision of the contribution that facilitation can make to helping people collaborate to make progress.
People who are trying to solve tough economic, social, and environmental problems often find themselves frustratingly stuck. They can’t solve their problems in their current context, which is too unstable or unfair or unsustainable. They can’t transform this context on their own—it’s too complex to be grasped or shifted by any one person or organization or sector. And the people whose cooperation they need don’t understand or agree with or trust them or each other.
Transformative scenario planning is a powerful new methodology for dealing with these challenges. It enables us to transform ourselves and our relationships and thereby the systems of which we are a part. At a time when divisions within and among societies are producing so many people to get stuck and to suffer, it offers hope—and a proven approach—for moving forward together.
“This breakthrough book addresses the central challenge of our time: finding a way to work together to solve the problems we have created.”