Breaking Through Gridlock

The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World

Jason Jay (Author) | Gabriel Grant (Author) | Peter Senge (Forword by)

Publication date: 05/22/2017

Breaking Through Gridlock
Conversations about social change devolve quickly into conflict when participants don t agree. Experienced practitioners Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant offer advocates and aspiring change agents six easy steps for opening the lines of communication when conversations get stuck.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.

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Overview

Conversations about social change devolve quickly into conflict when participants don t agree. Experienced practitioners Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant offer advocates and aspiring change agents six easy steps for opening the lines of communication when conversations get stuck.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.

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Meet the Authors & Other Product Contributors


Visit Author Page - Jason Jay

Jason J. Jay holds a bachelor s degree in psychology and a master s in education from Harvard and a PhD in organization studies from MIT. He is a senior lecturer in sustainability at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan.



Visit Author Page - Gabriel Grant

Gabriel Grant is a doctoral candidate in leadership and sustainability at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the founding director of the Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation. He is also an active sustainability consultant with fifteen years of experience.



Forword by Peter Senge


Peter Senge is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) Council. He is the author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization; co-author of three related field books; and, most recently, Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Society, and Organizations. Senge lectures throughout the world about decentralizing the role of leadership in organizations to enhance the capacity of all people to work toward healthier human systems. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to WLP Award.

Contributor (interviewed by Elaine Biech) to ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals - Available as article-length Fast Fundamentals whitepaper (PDF download): The Learning Organization Today: An Interview with Peter Senge.

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Endorsements

“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, CNN cohost, author, and activist

"A field manual for change agents on how to build bridges across differences and move from talk to action.”
~Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

“We need the creativity that can be harnessed from competing perspectives to craft thriving organizations and a thriving society. This book gives people the tools to take that on.”
~John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market

“This book is not for the fainthearted, but if you truly want to change the world, it's essential. It challenges us—as advocates, as citizens, as humans—to identify our own motivations and assumptions to create common ground with those we oppose or avoid. It asks us to abandon certainty and righteousness to allow for new and different paths toward our goals. And it gives us the tools and the inspiration to do so.”
—Gwen Ruta, Senior Vice President, Climate and Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

“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

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