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Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don't Agree with or Like or Trust

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Collaborating with the Enemy
How to Work with People You Don't Agree with or Like or Trust
We're trying to get something done that really matters to us. To do this we need to work with others. But these others include people we don't agree with or like or trust, so working with them seems impossible--like collaborating with the enemy. What can we do?
International consultan
Paperback, 131 pages
Published June 5th 2017 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published 2017)
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Dubi Kanengisser
This is a rare case where the subtitle is actually less informative than the title. The subtitle made me think this would be a book about how to manage workplace relationships with problematic co-workers. The word "Work" in the subtitle must be the culprit here. A quick poll among co-workers affirmed that this is a common enough interpretation. But it's wrong. This book is literally about collaboration with enemies. Like, real enemies. People one is likely to want dead. Now, I dislike some o
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, library
some useful points, but like a lot of these books, suffers from privileged, straight, white guy perspective. However, if that's his main audience, "they" may get more of a take a way. ...more
Mish Middelmann
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book for our times: from a place of authority and experience, Kahane explains why we need to get skilled at working with people who are so different that we really don't like or trust them, let alone agree with them. Having laid bare the Why, he also give a set of high-level guidelines for the How to stretch out across radical differences amongst individuals and groups.

We simply have to do it, for the future of the human world.

Kahane is wise and experienced - from a background in the c
Lukáš Zorád
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Deatails, details, details. This book is lacking them. Adam Kahane discribes the outlines and main lessons from some of his very impressive work experience and I feel like I would prefer to read each case study separately and learn from more comprehensice description, methods and learning points from it. The book has few interesting points itself, but in general it is lacking depth and I felt bit frustrated reading it (especialy the parts where he describes an interesting story, but doesn´t fini ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
After hearing this author's background on CBC radio and the catchy title of this book, it has sat on my TBR shelf for a year with me constantly thinking back on it whenever experiencing conflict. I can now say my high expectations were misplaced. I the writing was dull and didn't reach the revelations I was hoping for. Pretty much any useful info can be taken from the graphic on pg 47 and the final chapter. ...more
Mauko Quiroga
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are complex problems we need to solve with people we neither like nor trust. In those cases, traditional collaboration doesn't work, and we can either force, submit, leave or stretch. To stretch, we need to adopt conflict, try to find an emergent way forward together and accept we need to change ourselves for things to change. Being part of the problem to be part of the solution.

What did I learn ?

1. I was unaware of the similitudes between conflict-resolution and Agile, Lean Startup, parti
Andreina Garban
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Collaborating with the Enemy by Adam Kahane comes in perfect timing. Living in Venezuela right now is certainly an unbelievable and sometimes exhausting challenge. I was lucky enough to met Adam years ago while a wonderful team was trying to launch the project of Futuros Posibles, the timing of this book is so appropiate. The understanding of a new approach, embracing collaboration as a learning process of stretching and responsibility as citizens and as individuals involved in complex situation ...more
Isabelle Duchaine
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I spend a lot of time working with people at work. That's the nature of work in the 21st century, but we talk about COLLABORATION every. single. day. The whole premise of where I work is to stick a whole bunch of people one group with a bunch of people from another group and have them work on Priorities A, B, C.

We're not working on transitioning out of Apartheid or reconciliation between the military and FARC, but it's hard to get people to work together. It really is, and so Adam Kahane's book
Alan Briskin
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Collaborating with the Enemy is simply brilliant. The author has the experience and credibility to challenge fundamental assumptions about collaboration and conflict resolution while still affirming the need to work together and find constructive ways forward. As an organizational consultant and researcher in the field of collective wisdom and intelligence, I find his work radiantly visionary, yet grounded, clear, insightful, and immensely practical. His partnership with a graphic illustrator to ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has the power to shift my thinking on what we need for pre-conditions to advance collaboration. The book centres around the need to use "stretch" collaboration when conventional collaboration won't be available. You may not agree on outcomes with those in your circle, but you can likely agree on the next step to take and you will be able to "feel your way along the stones." I also liked the reminder to "step into the game" which is a concept I have been thinking about since I read the ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching-books
Collaborating with the Enemy is a valuable and challenging book. Adam Kahane starts by reminding the reader that we have choices and other options besides collaboration, and that the rest of the book is about when we make the choice to collaborate. He doesn't spend much time on situations where we may make the choice not to collaborate - and there are certainly circumstances where this may be the best option - but he does describe briefly the alternative paths. If we choose to collaborate in a d ...more
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Adam Kahane writes a strategic guide for an individual-to-individual collaboration approach with enemies (defined as people with whom one does not agree with, like, or trust). Using both scholarly sources and personal anecdotes from decades of consulting work in business and government, the author theorizes "enemyfying" (enemy-making) as a mental process and "stretch collaboration" as an alternative to conventional collaboration techniques for communicating with an "enemy", utilizing different t ...more
John Crippen
Oct 31, 2020 rated it liked it
What a great subtitle, eh? Even though Kahane repurposed,and sometimes just repeated, some material from Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities, the three main points of this book gave me a lot to think about. Plus, he worked with an artist on this one, and so there's a bit of visual learning going on too (just a bit). A reader with no interest or background in scenario planning could pick this up and really enjoy it. ...more
❀ Susan G
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
Full review pending but was wishing I was reading this with a highlighter instead of listening to it in the car! some great tips on c0-creating and open listening.
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loads and loads of wisdom. Will reread. A bit short. Writing isn’t scintillating. But real wisdom. The power-love framework alone made it worth reading.
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-for-work
In Collaborating with the Enemy, Kahane suggests an alternative model from the current mode of collaboration, which he describes as one "that requires us to be on the same team and headed in the same direction, to agree on what has to happen to make sure that this happens, and to get people to do what needs to be done" (p.1). He suggests instead "stretch collaboration" where the group or partners will co-operate or have conflict, they will experiment toward a solution, rather than accepting an e ...more
Michelle Arredondo
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Collaborating With The Enemy: How To Work With People You Don't Agree With Or Like Or Trust, was a book I wanted to take a chance on but was not sure that it was exactly something for me. My husband is not a reader...I am. My husband has much experience with people out in the work force and has dealt with many issues as a manager. Thought I'd request the book, get it , read it, with the hopes that I can gain some insight and knowledge that I could pass on to him.

It was quite interesting. And ac
karl taylor
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This title intrigued me due to some past experiences and I was expecting more of a workplace senecio training. I was not expecting the global and historical expertise that the author brought to bear in his examples. He helped to negotiate peace in South Africa and Columbia and many other places where there was great turmoil. It made the work place situations seem pretty trivial, but the concepts were good. I'll walk away with some solid stuff to think about in my work with youth and others. It i ...more
Vinita Mohan
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it
If you ignore the subtitle (well, and maybe the title, too), you may find this quick read of interest: Kahane points out that collaboration isn't always the answer, and that our traditional form of collaboration, which emphasizes consensus and moving toward solving a single problem doesn't address the truly complex world we live in. Instead, we must move towards constructive conflict and communication, towards recognizing there may be many "correct" paths (and answers), and towards stretching ou ...more
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I so loved reading this book. It concludes with the following words of wisdom. No doubt that out of our comfort zone is where the magic happens.

“So in learning to collaborate, the people you think of as your enemies can, surprisingly, play a helpful role. Stretching requires you to move toward rather than away from different others. You will learn the most in those situations you find most difficult: when others do not do as you want them to do and do force you to pause and find a fresh way for
Hal Carim
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
The binary dilemma of apparent 0-sum situations of Win = domination vs Lose = acquiescence/capitulation need not be as expected writes Kahane - a successful facilitator/negotiator in apparently intractable processes such as the Colombian and Guatemalan civil wars. He posits that even in such situations, collaborative approaches through "stretch collaboration" techniques in which each participant "feels the water for the stones" as they step out of their positions through active listening and par ...more
Pedro Limeira
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think it is a really good introduction to collaboration, or in his terms, stretched collaboration. The main difference is that we have to be more aware of what is present - the diversity of perspectives, the conflicts, the emotions - and to deal with the challenge in small steps. In conventional collaboration, we need shared goals and alignments and control. What I enjoyed the most in the book is that it remembered me that collaboration is not always the best option, and to recognize myself in ...more
Tess Watson
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Adam openly and freely expounds on his professional failures as a facilitator of bringing divergent parties to resolution (or something similar), explaining how they helped him get to what he calls stretch collaborating.

Stretch collaborating is about truly listening to what all sides are saying and working towards goals that move everyone forward rather than the powerful exerting their wants over others. He offers concrete exercises to teach you how to change... because you cannot change anyone
JC Olsthoorn
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book came out as I was preparing a report for a workplace conflict assessment I conducted. The conflict situation options provided an excellent model to map out the feasibility of moving forward and possible next steps.

The one caveat with this and other books is that the "solution" it provides is daunting, doable, but a radically different approach for organizations to get their heads around.

Regardless, after I briefed my client on my report and use of Kahane's book, they went out and boug
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book through Goodreads’ First Reads program. The author, who is a specialist of sorts in collaboration, presents different ways of colloborating. This culminates with what he refers to as”stretch collaboration” being lauded as the ideal methodology. There were plenty of anecdotes from the author’s life, and references to this prior books, which I have not read. Though a short length (as books go), these seemed longer than the topic required. The same information could e ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Important ideas about stretch collaboration. Great thoughts on the fact that our values and preInciples might not match everyone's in a collaboration, yet everyone might find value in desired goals and outcomes
Practical tips on how to move through listening into generative and presencing forms of listening
Wise reminder about the reality that solutions to complex problems often can't be strategically sourced
I value the insights shared about power and love and the metaphor of breathing (inhaling a
Kirk Gray
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a great short read about collaborating when collaboration isn't easy. This book admits that there are situations that just won't be positive, and that there are hierarchical challenges to this sort of work. As someone who works in an enterprise setting this is my reality, and some of the models mentioned are going to be hugely useful. "Enemyfying" is a really cool concept. This book in concert with Leadership and Self-Deception are a great tool for improving our interactions and moving ...more
Bob Ferrante
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple but not slight

I came to the book seeking a way to change others. You know, those difficult people that the title promises I’ll be changing by the end.

Compacting an enormous amount of impressive experience into just a few pages, what we learn is that to change the world is not a goal but a path.

As you walk the path, you learn the truth about what needs to really change. The path is in the walking.
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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 an ...more

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  Melissa Albert burst onto the YA scene (and catapulted into readers' hearts) with her 2018 debut The Hazel Wood. This darkly fantastical...
51 likes · 4 comments
“The problem with enemyfying is not that we never have enemies: we often face people and situations that present us with difficulties and dangers. Moreover, any effort we make to effect change in the world will create discomfort, resistance, and opposition. The real problem with enemyfying is that it distracts and unbalances us. We cannot avoid others whom we find challenging, so we need to focus simply on deciding, given these challenges, what we ourselves will do next.” 5 likes
“For every great idea, the opposite idea is also true.” 4 likes
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