Climate change is destroying natural resources and Earth’s delicate environmental balance, creating a major threat to our very survival, with more destructive natural disasters resulting in massive human displacement, increased warfare and conflict, and disorienting climate migrations. This, in turn, has increased nationalistic fears of being “invaded” by outsiders that threaten cultural identity.

In the face of these daunting challenges, it is imperative that more people learn more and new methods of communication, approaching those within and beyond their tribes to gently and respectfully address common and differing problems. An essential part of communication is listening because you can’t gain the trust of people who feel unheard and unwanted. If we use interpersonal communication– digital and live – to approach others with open hearts and minds, we can learn to better understand each other and create opportunities for joint action. There’s an old saying in advertising: Find the Need, Sell the Want. The needs are universal. Selling the want of improvement and resolution begins with communication.


In the classic American musical Oklahoma, set in the rural southwest of 1906, solutions to the rivalry between farmers and cowboys over fences and water rights are expressed in a song, The Farmer and the Cowman, stressing that “The farmer and the cowman should be friends: “One man likes to push a plough/The other likes to chase a cow/But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends/ Territory folks should stick together.” Every population has its version of rival farmers and cowmen. But they share (metaphorically or literally), the same territory and desire: happy, healthy, prosperous lives. Territory folks sticking together in mutual harmony can make it so.

It is ironic but true that while the Digital Revolution and Globalization have made the world smaller and more interconnected, they have also divided us further. The 21st Century Authoritarian plays on this, serving himself and his tiny percentage of supporters by convincing/forcing the proverbial farmers and cowmen to see each other as enemies trying to rob each other of their common territory. This sell is a self-serving narrative designed to avert their focus from their real enemy: The Authoritarian state that seeks to enslave, even destroy them. If we expose this false dichotomy, cooperation is possible.

The old adage “two heads are better than one” is a reminder that cooperation, collaboration, leads to the best solutions. Don’t worry that others will steal and take credit for your ideas, or that sharing will lessen your status. Cooperative participation doesn’t diminish your self-worth, it enhances it.


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About the Author

Nadine HackCEO of beCause Global Consulting and named a Top Thought Leader on Trustworthy Business Behaviour globally often enough to earn a Trust Lifetime Achievement Award, Nadine advises Fortune 500 company executives, heads of state, and other leaders and organizations. Ethical Corporation shortlisted her Responsible CEO of the Year with CEOs of Patagonia, Danone, Accenture, Yes Bank, Globe Telecom and Firmenich; With Master’s degrees from Harvard University and The New School, she’s a Fellow at New Westminster College, created and taught graduate courses at NYU and SNHU, and has guest lectured at many universities.

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