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Key Takeaways

  • Being open-minded about different narratives and worldviews is crucial in helping people understand each other’s perspectives.
  • Deliberate effort is required to overcome confirmation bias and engage with diverse perspectives, and this can be facilitated by intentional leadership and shared vision.
  • Expressing doubt and vulnerability can help one become persuasive, even if they are an expert in a particular field.
  • Effective leadership and negotiation require a lot more than simply sticking to facts and giving presentations.
  • By being mindful of our reactivity and regulating ourselves, we can positively impact others and contribute to a more productive and kinder world.

Executive Summary:

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for joining us on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Naseem Khuri and Robert Wilkinson, two of the best negotiation experts and highly-qualified professors.

If you haven’t already checked out Part A of this episode, we strongly recommend doing that first. Now, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Knowing Different Narratives And Worldviews Is Crucial In Helping People Understand Each Other’s Perspective

Aram resumes the conversation by asking the experts how to work through differences and polarization, particularly in conflict-ridden areas such as Israel, Palestine, and Rwanda.

Naseem, who has worked in Israel-Palestine, highlights the challenge of addressing trauma and different narratives that have been instilled in people from birth. He then advocates for the contact theory/contact hypothesis, where disconnected people are in proximity to each other for a prolonged period, leading to an inclination to care for their counterparts.

However, he believes it is insufficient and emphasizes the importance of reconciling different narratives and worldviews to help people understand each other’s perspectives.

Rob agrees with the utility of a contact theory framework in conflict resolution, but like Naseem, finds it to be insufficient in and of itself. He shares two examples of projects he worked on in Rwanda and Burundi that successfully implemented contact theory but also added strategy and sustained engagement for maximum impact.

He recalls organizing a workshop in Rwanda to bring together religious leaders from two ethnic groups in conflict. Plus, the work of a conflict resolution organization that set up soccer games between local police and military and the community to build relationships and reduce incidents of abuse and torture.

Wilkinson remains hopeful for the US and believes that we can go back to investing in conflict resolution and leadership skills despite past setbacks due to funding disputes.

Intentional Leadership And Shared Vision Can Help Eliminate Narrative Bias

Moving on, the speakers discuss confirmation bias and how it can be perpetuated by passive participation in society. They explain that when people consume social media and other information without actively engaging with different perspectives, they are more likely to look for data confirming their existing beliefs. Plus, they devalue information from people or groups they do not agree with.

Both Naseem and Rob suggest that deliberate effort is required to overcome confirmation bias and engage with diverse perspectives, and this can be facilitated by intentional leadership and shared vision. Urban Rural Action, an organization working to bridge the urban-rural divide, is an example of a deliberate effort to engage with different perspectives.

Building Bridges And Working As A Team

In the same vein, Naseem and Rob talk about the importance of intentionality in leadership and the need to set a tone, vision, and shared identity to overcome biased narratives.

They also discuss the use of case studies in teaching leadership and negotiation skills, focusing on examples of conflict resolution in Africa and the BP oil spill. The speakers emphasize the need for building bridges and working as a team, even in difficult and politically charged situations. And then suggest that the reason people fail to collaborate is when there is a lack of external events or other crises to instigate collaboration.

Expressing Doubt And Vulnerability Can Help One Become Persuasive

Next, the speakers highlight the importance of vulnerability and humility in persuasion. The fear of being wrong and losing power often prevents people from reaching across the aisle or considering the possibility that they don’t have all the information they need.

However, research shows that expressing doubt and vulnerability can make one more persuasive, even if they are experts in a particular field. Presenting evidence or simply throwing facts at people is often not enough to change their minds, as confirmation bias can come into play.

Simply Presenting Facts And Evidence May Not Help You Negotiate Effectively

Naseem and Rob discuss the limitations of using facts and evidence to persuade others during negotiations and instead emphasize the importance of understanding the other person’s perspective and engaging in joint creative conversations.

They acknowledge that many managers default to using facts and giving presentations but suggest that effective leadership and negotiation require different behaviors and skills based on persuasion and empathy.

The speakers also challenge the notion that people think there is no time to engage in dialogue and suggest that revisiting processes and structures is necessary to enable more effective communication.

Social Media Has Made It Challenging For People To Communicate

According to Rob, applying skills of persuasion and negotiation in real-life situations, especially when it involves the people we care about the most, can be tough. The rise of technology and social media has also made it challenging for people to communicate intentionally and effectively.

However, the good news is that there is recognition of the importance of teaching these essential skills to young children in schools. It might take a lot of work, but the progress and glimmers of encouragement are definitely worth noting.

By Being Mindful Of Our Own Reactivity, We Can Have A Positive Impact On Others

Lastly, the conversation revolves around the importance of modeling positive behavior and being deliberate in our interactions, whether in personal relationships or larger conflicts.

By being mindful of our reactivity and regulating ourselves, we can have a positive impact on others and contribute to a more productive and kinder world. The speakers emphasize the importance of not just talking about these principles but practicing them and instilling them in our behavior.

Rob, Naseem, Aram, and Nolan discuss a lot more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx Podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and share your thoughts on this very informational podcast episode.

Thank you for listening!


Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Naseem and Rob, professors and negotiation experts. If you haven't already checked out part A of this episode, be sure to do that first.

Now, let's jump in the conversation with both of them.

Aram Donigian : We think about polarization in the US today. It's clearly there politically, and as well as in a lot of social aspects. You both have done work in really intense places, right? Israel, Palestine, Rwanda, right? Where there is, you know, “you killed my predecessors”. I mean, how do you work through those sorts of differences that are, you know, are they, they're more than just perception, more than just generalizations.

I mean, there's a real factual, like you have caused me harm.

Understanding Why Contact Theory Is Necessary But Insufficient [2:05]

Naseem Khuri : Yep! Yeah, I do work in Israel-Palestine, and I look at that work and I say, you know, bang up job we're doing over there, <laugh> and still, there are ways to address sort of dynamics that you're mentioning Aram,, around how do you deal with sort of generations of trauma? How do you deal with very different storytelling amongst the different communities when all of those, all of these different factors are leading you to this one specific point, which then culminates in some incident of violence at a checkpoint or something happening in Jerusalem or whatnot.</laugh>

And so many theories on how to, how to deal with that. And I keep coming back to this idea that I'm a big subscriber of the contact theory idea that if people are just simply around other human beings for a prolonged period of time, that that there is this sort of inclination to want to support each other, to want to learn from each other, to want to care for each other.

NK : And in so many conflicts, no one ever gets the chance to do that. You see that in Israel Palestine all the time where the generation of Israelis have grown up without having ever met a Palestinian. And Palestinians have only grown up seeing Israeli soldiers in the military. So, that I feel like is a prerequisite wildly insufficient, but necessary.

And then once you have, then there's the idea of having to deal with those different types of narratives and different types of worldviews that have been instilled in them from birth, right? And in this country, I think we're not quite there. And yet different sides at point sides and air quotes have their own narratives and absolutely have different ways in which they have been led in a certain direction just by virtue of their experiences. And not necessarily deliberately. I live outside Washington DC I live in a relatively pretty progressive bubble here.

NK : And if I don't deliberately act to try to burst that bubble, I can easily just feel like I'm in my, in group here and can easily get stuck there and think that everything in my outside, my in group, as Rob is saying is the same.

Everyone who is not progressive is just for, you know, does this XYZ name the cliche, insert the insert the stereotype. So again, I think that, for me personally, I feel that contact theory is such an important thing. It's necessary and it's insufficient. Then you have to start doing the work. Once you actually get out of the bubble, you actually have to start to do the work of reconciling with different narratives and worldviews.

There's just so much work to be done in so many forces up against that work. And oftentimes in those situations like Israel, Palestine, those forces are a lot stronger than the work being done. I don't think we're a lost cause here in this country. There are so many great efforts that are working that are sort of favoring those, the work and countering those forces. And we can still do that, I think a lot in this country.

Robert Wilkinson : You know, build on the contact theory point a little bit from a practitioner point of view, because I absolutely would agree with that. A hundred percent. It's necessary, but not sufficient. And you know, when I was in Rwanda for three years, I was actually in a regional job, so I was covering six countries in the region, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Bari, Rwanda, Congo. So I was working on a project, for example, in Eastern Congo in a province called a Tori, where there were two ethnic groups that were deeply in conflict, sort of similar violence like Rwanda.

They were called the Hema and Lendu and my colleagues and I organized a workshop to bring those two religious leaders on both sides together. And, you know, this was after really horrific violence. Like you kind of asked the question, Aram, you know, you kind of think, where do, how do you even imagine bringing those people together?

RW : But we did that and it was very powerful in moving for them. And it was interesting because at the end, one of my colleagues asked like, well, do you see see the Hema or Thelen differently than you did before? And it was so interesting, the answer was almost like unanimous, which was, we've never met a Hema or Lendu before in our lives. I've never spoken to a person who is my counterpart. And so, and there was crying and hugs at the end. It was really transformational. But without strategy on top of that, it has very limited impact.

So it's a different example. I'll just quickly share a different example. In Burundi, we worked on a project right in the center of the country, a town called Gitega. And it was a terrible tragedy that happened. There were 19 rebel groups in Verde this time during the Civil War.

RW : And one of the rebel groups who would pass through the town, you know, and commit acts of violence and then move on. And the terrible situation happened once where one rebel group set a school on fire with school kids in it. And Tara, you know, terrifyingly 47 school kids died. And so the government pretty much typically just went out and arrested all sorts of people without any real due process and treated them pretty badly in prison. And so a local religious leader actually went down to the prison and said to the government it was a terrible thing that was done.

But arresting innocent people and putting them in prison and torturing them is, is, you know, this is the moment where it stops. If we can say just because that happened, it doesn't justify us doing equally outrageous things to the other side.

RW : And he made a real name for himself and found that a conflict resolution organization, which we supported. And amazingly what he did was take contact theory as, as Naseem was saying, but built on it a little bit more strategically. So they set up football or soccer games between the local police and military and the local community. And so it wasn't just sports for peace, just to have fun together, but they actually then got to know each other and were able to better able to distinguish after a rebel group passed through who was really a local member and who was not. And the, and they kept records and basically the number of arrests and therefore indirectly the number of incidents of torture and abuse plummeted because of this project.

And it's about contact theory plus strategy plus sustained engagement. And, you know, I'm with Naseem. I don't see that we are sunk here in the US. I just think it's sad that, you know, the example you gave of, when I was working in the White House, I was in this training program on conflict resolution and leadership skills for presidential appointees. And the reason it stopped is cuz the funding stopped because Democrats and Republicans argued about whether we should have this or not <laugh>. And, but, but we could go back, we could go back to those days. I'm not giving up at all. So lemme stop there.

The Roots Of Confirmation Bias [8:20]

NK : Just add one point, which is, to me, the difference is are you sort of an active participant in the society or a passive participant in society? If you, if you care about this, if you are passive, you will coast through, you will stay in your bubble, you will consume social media, which just breeds all of this stuff.

And you will play to the confirmation bias that you have. So you will look for data that fills conclusions that you already have. You will do what they say in the academic circles, reactive devaluation, where you'll sort of devalue anything that the messenger that you don't necessarily agree with or that comes from a different tribe, if you will, whatever they say, you'll, you'll devalue it.

These things will happen to you if you're not careful. I'm reminded of, I think it was the singer Jennifer Hudson, who had talked about sort of her body issues and weight and she, she became sort of a spokesperson for healthier eating and things like that.

NK : And she was just saying that she had never thought about how she, what, what she would put into her body. It was just not something that happened. If you go through life as an American just consuming what's around you, it's a good chance that you might end up overweight if you're not careful about it. Because of the way the system is set up and the structure is set up, and it was really sort of shown a light on this if you're just sort of passive about it. Now, Greg, there's all sorts of socioeconomic things tied to that, but the sort of argument holds that if you're just passive and not careful about how you are actually engaging with other people, you will be subject to confirmation bias. You will be subject to status quo bias, all these other biases are gonna take hold.

NK : And the way, a possible way out of that contact theory potentially is really thinking through process and thinking through how do I engage with other people? Are there forums, are there spaces that you can actually create and do this? Aram, I think you're involved a bit with this organization that I'm involved with called Urban Rural Action, where it's really trying to tackle the urban rural divide and having folks not just get together, but work together on issues.

And in that process along the way, conservatives, liberals are like, oh, hey, by the way, they're, the person across the table is actually a human being. But all of that requires deliberate effort and requires actual, you need to care about it. And again, you're up against all these forces that are sort of keeping you down in that sense and forcing you to be this sort of passive participant.

So, that's all to say, we all just need to make the decision <laugh> that we wanna change it. And perhaps the value proposition, it's not attractive enough for people to want to do that, to spend energy. And it's a lot easier to just doom scroll on Twitter and get angry at this person you've never met.

AD : Sure. And like the things we want. It, it, I feel like this, this conversation, the scene that you're, you're sharing thoughts around, around process goes back to Rob's second point, which is the intentionality of leaders and groups to set the tone, set a vision, create shared identity, you know, it's so important if we're gonna get ahead of, you know, just biased narratives and everything else.

It's, you know, and it is interesting too. I, as I heard you say, passivity isn't the lack of action, it's just incredibly nuanced or biased action is not necessarily intentional action, which is what the leader of a group group would create for us.

Building Bridges And Working As A Team [11:38]

RW : I’m just gonna share one point, which I think links to some of many of the questions you've been talking about today and particularly getting at in the US how, you know, what's a way forward. One thing I wanted to just share about the fact that we both are teaching classes in an academic environment as well as getting out there kind of in the real world is that, you know, we're very focused often in the way that we use pedagogical tools on real live case studies.

So we, you know, I've been very much involved in producing some newer case studies to add to the kind of canon of how we look at leadership and negotiation. And one of the things that's been important for me is to be digging into the examples that are out there where people have done really well, even in spite of incredibly difficult odds in the US and elsewhere.

RW : And so we've been looking at examples of conflict in Africa and looking and, and you know, people can turn on the TV and find all the sorts of examples of violent destructive conflict, but what you don't see on TV is the litany of examples where we've resolved really difficult, seemingly intractable conflicts.

So now it's forgotten, you know, but it's in so many countries it's been done. El Salvador, while the fighting was happening, they negotiated end of the conflict. Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Angola, Burundi's peace process, you know, it just, it just goes on and on and on.

And then now they're not in the news, so we don't think about that. But sometimes writing up a good case study on understanding what happened, who did what, when, how did they make decisions in tough moments and looking backwards at that can be a really valuable tool to give some sort of inspiration for the future.

RW : And just as an example, the one I'm finishing right now is with a case study looking at the BP oil spill and how destructive that was in so many different ways, environmentally, ecologically, politically, economically. And what was really interesting about it was the point person to manage it from the White House was during the Obama administration was Valerie Jared, who was seen to be basically, you know, a hundred percent aligned with Obama, which she was, and then five governors in the Gulf region who were all Republicans.

And in that context it was a very conflictual you know, we know how much people loved each other back then, even let alone now politically. So Obama was really under, you know, political threat from the Republicans, yet they found a way to manage it in partnership because they all agreed, we have to look at this from the perspective of joint team working.

RW : We can't bring in the conflictual part of the political environment we're in right now if we wanna solve this problem. And they managed to more or less successfully do that with a few exceptions and they solve the problem. It's hard to imagine what would be interesting to see what would happen today if that exact same thing happened again, I'm not sure, but there are examples in conflict where people find a way to build bridges and work as teams. And I, I'm very much committed to sort of bringing continued examples of that into the classroom so people can recognize it doesn't have to be the way we see it on TV all the time,

NK : Rob, I think, yeah, I think one of the problems in general now is that we don't have some outside external event to instigate sort of forced the collaboration that needs to happen, right? Again, you can sort of work, you, you can just sort of coast through your daily life and just continue on this sort of passive thread where you're just sort of fostering, staying with your in group and and fostering that. And there's nothing that compels you to work with the other side. I keep going back to the sort of value proposition that I don't need to, I don't want to change how I, how I'm working here and therefore why am I gonna do anything differently? There's no oil spill, there's no external event. It's gonna force me to do it

AD : And there's a level of comfort to stay where I am, right? The vulnerability required to do what you're both suggesting to reach across, whether it's reaching across an aisle or it's reaching across tribal division to consider the possibility I don't have all the information I need. That's incredibly vulnerable.

How To Become More Persuasive [15:06]

RW : That's so true. People somehow feel, I think if you say, well let me understand better your perspective on that, or I'm not sure I understood that last point or, you know, I don't really know about your background or your history. Any of those questions somehow lowers you and gives them power is the fear that some people just say you're wrong.

But it turns out obviously that, you know, we teach this so we believe that obviously that ultimately gives you a lot more power and influence. It's back to Sanzu from, you know, millennia go like the enemy, you know, how could you succeed if you don't even understand them?

And yet at this point there's a lot of people I think who say, I don't even want to understand. I don't care what you think. And in the end I would say, you know, selfishly, even that hurts you often in getting your goals met. But people don't feel that way at the moment.

NK : One of my favorite studies that has come out recently, and this was cited in Adam Grant's book I think again was the study that showed that sort of the more of an expert you are in something and the more you express doubt in it, the more persuasive you are on it.

I think that is fascinating cuz the inverse is the more you are expert in something and the more you express certainty on it, the less persuasive you are. We all know blowhards totally not looking at you right now, Aram, we all know Blowhards in our lives, <laugh> who just sort of, who just sort of like lecture us and in this study actually shows there's actual empirical research it shows the more they lecture you.

But if they just throw in a like, I might be wrong here or this is my perspective, and if they show that little smidge of humility and vulnerability, they actually become more persuasive. They actually become more effective at what they're trying to do in trying to change minds. I think that's a fascinating research and actually just reinforces that our view of the world is clearly the superior view and no one else should challenge that.

RW : <Laugh>, I couldn't resist, as you were talking about Adam Grant, Naseem, about this idea. Another thing that Adam Grant points out is that just by throwing facts at people, that alone is not persuasive. If you just say, well here's five more studies on this, people still hold onto what they think initially, often the confirmation bias idea.

And I saw this funny meme that someone shared on LinkedIn that basically showed a genuine conversation between someone who said, it's remarkable how strong, you know, empirical evidence can really persuade people to change their minds. And then a woman wrote back saying, actually, I'm a researcher on this question. And then we've looked at that in detail and it turns out it's not really true actually. And he wrote back saying, I don't know, I still, I still just think it is, I'm, I'm persuaded that it still is

AD : <Laugh>

RW : <Laugh> and right there to epitomize exactly the psychology, right?

AD : It does, you know, and that does, that feels like that comes up in corporate work quite a bit too, which is, if I can just show you the evidence, right? I go through the should cost model in enough detail that's gonna convince you and, and the research suggests otherwise.

Set Of Behaviors Required To Negotiate Effectively [17:57]

RW : Exactly. Yeah. Marshaling one more fact or one more piece of evidence isn't persuasive often unengaging the other person and understanding why they think what they think and then sharing what you think and then having a more, a joint creative conversation about different ways to look at it can be persuasive, but to just say, just think of any argument you've ever been in and someone's firing more facts at you.

Do you all of a sudden in the middle say, you know what? Actually that's totally right. I'm totally wrong. <Laugh> it doesn't even happen in fictional books, you know, it's just, that's not how human beings work, unfortunately, or fortunately.

But yet you're right. We default, you know, a lot of managers have got where they are because they've been so smart and they've done well on tests in school and they are giving fancy presentations and they know they're, they're on top of their brief and that's we've been rewarded for behaving that way to get to a senior position often.

But that's not the essence of effective leadership and negotiation in the end. So that's a different skill, but it's not the same skill set that's required when people deeply disagree. And shifting your mindset between the two is often hard for managers until they've actually, until they realize, oh wow, I should be engaging in a whole different set of behaviors and activities here and building my capacity in different ways is the insight that a lot of managers find really helpful and valuable.

NK : The biggest pushback I think that we hear to that idea is, I don't have time. I have a very limited amount of time I need to get my talking points across and I just need to be able to explain this thing, especially from leaders within organizations. They, they're very tight schedules and our question, our response is always just like, well, what are you trying to do?

And are you gonna be effective at doing what you're trying to do? If you don't know where your audience is, how do you think you're gonna be effective on them? We have a colleague Ken Hyatt, who was pretty senior at the Department of Commerce, and he did one thing where he sort of changed a bit of culture when he was still, he left a few years back out of government, but he changed one little small thing of culture within the organization, which was that he changed on his team.

NK : Instead of developing talking points, they would develop discussion points, right? It's such a small little nuance thing that actually sends a pretty powerful message that I'm, I'm not just gonna collect my data and just spew them, spew it at you, and just hope as, as Rob is saying, just hope that that's gonna suddenly change your mind on something or make you adopt something. I'm going to actually give us prompts for us to all figure this thing out together.

And, if you find that you're continually out of time, maybe you need to revisit your processes, maybe you need to visit, revisit structure and figure out, oh, maybe our meeting should be a little longer next time. Or are we being as efficient as possible when I'm just coming in and hitting you with all sorts of data? Sure, I check the box of relaying that data.

That was the, I guess that was, what was that the actual purpose of my meaning though? Am I actually being effective at actually changing a mind or, or compelling someone to do something or getting buy-in on a certain project or something like that. So the question is, yeah, am I being effective and do we have the right structures in place to make that happen?

AD : Guys this has been great. As we get ready to wrap up, one question I'm really curious about is you're both parents, have some beautiful kids, and as you work through this field of conflict resolution, what is your, what is your hope? What are you trying to teach them, demonstrate for them? What's the world you're hoping they're gonna walk into around conflict management Thoughts on that?

Teaching Children To Navigate Conflict [21:19]

RW : Well, it's funny, you know, when my kids were younger, they used to like to watch this one Disney show and it was called Dog With a Blog. And it was a pretty silly show, I will admit. But it was about a guy who was like a, basically a psychologist and at home was pretty useless with his kids, but he was great in his work.

And the part about being useless at home, there are some days where I feel just like that character in that show, <laugh>, you know, we, we teach this stuff and then we come home and it's, you know, it's hardest when it matters most to you personally. So I think I, you know, I think parenting has been maybe the toughest challenge to apply all these concepts and ideas and skills we talk about all day long.

You know, right there in front of you is when the, when push comes to shove, you have to kind of like really live and embody those principles.

RW : And it can be really tough. It can be really tough for the people you care about the most. I feel kind of mixed feelings about the future in the certain way because my kids are so, you know, they live a life that kids these days live, you know, the internet and the connections on social media and devices are, you know, how people live. That's how they communicate.

Grownups think it's rude to get a text with a TY instead of saying, oh, thank you very much Momi, you know, whatever daddy. It's just like these quick little notes and it's not the way that we're used to communicating. I also think it completely facilitates all the kinds of problems we were talking about before of instantaneous reactions, leaping to conclusions, not very intentional. A passing thought in your brain is instantly translated to text characters and is sent off to people within a second.

RW : So that's not great. But I do think the good news is that we've seen in our own kids their ability to build up these skills and capacities over the years because they're listening to the advice we're talking about and I think trying to live it and seeing better outcomes for themselves. So that's really encouraging. And the second thing that's encouraging is even in our local school system here, just outside of the Boston area, they're, you know, they're really recognizing that the things we're talking about now in this whole discussion are essential skills that young kids even in elementary school should be learning.

So my own kids elementary school they got copies of the book, difficult conversations that we all know so well and gave it out to everybody, every, you know, the principal to the teachers, to the students, to the custodians, everyone got copies.

RW : They discussed it in middle school. They got copies of this book by Carol Dweck called Mindset, which is all about growth mindset versus fixed mindset. Encourage kids to be courageous enough to grow and fail and learn and not worry about getting the right answers. So the conversation is shifting, which is really, really encouraging for me. And I think the kids are responding pretty well when they get exposed to it.

It's just a question of, it's like you said, Naseem, if you just kind of float through the system without any of that information, then you fall into this systemic, you know, way of doing business, which is not the way forward. So it's gonna take a lot of work, but there's some real glimmers of encouragement I think I would say.

NK : Yeah, just to build on that, I think the bad news, as Rob said sort…

RW : I'm so sorry to interrupt you, so sorry to interrupt you. I'm just gonna jump off. Great to talk to you guys. Really a pleasure to spend this time talking with you. Thank you so much.

AD : Thanks Rob.

NM : Thanks Rob.

NK : Later, Rob!

RW : Take care.

NK : Okay, now we can finally talk about Rob behind his back <laugh>. So just to build on what Rob said, sort of, there's a lot of bad news out there, right? There are sort of structural forces that make us more prone to come to conclusions very quickly, to be very reactive. And I think that the way I get up in the morning is by thinking of sort of relying on my own kind of theory of change.

And that's this idea that, look, if we can, if we can practice ourselves on modeling the behavior that we wanna see, if we can practice our own reactivity and regulating ourselves and having interactions, and at the end of the day looking back at those interactions and saying, you know, I don't regret that. I actually did that very deliberately and I'm pretty happy with how that went. Even if I didn't get the outcome I wanted, I'm happy with my own performance in that if we can model that own behavior, then I think we can have an impact on others, right?

NK : And so I had better sort of walk the walk when I'm, when I'm parenting, right? If I'm telling my kid, if I'm giving my kid, as Rob is mentioning, like if I'm giving my kid difficult conversations and saying, Hey, read this, and then I'm screaming at them all the time and being completely, assuming they have bad intent and all these things that difficult conversation says that we shouldn't do or should be mindful of, then what am I doing? What, what message am I sending? Right? I had better walk the walk and this is what I carry over into my work every day too.

My theory of change on Israel-Palestine is if we can train and equip enough Israeli Palestinian leaders with the skills and the appropriate networks, again going back to contact theory, the appropriate networks so they can engage with each other productively, at least on this small scale, then maybe that'll spread out and reverberate from there.

NK : And maybe something happens down the road where we actually get a little more productive than we are today. And I have the same thing with my kids, right? If I can model this behavior that I wanna see, and if I can sort of try to instill in them and help them work through their own reactivity and have more sort of take deliberate and do it in a way where they're also generous and kind and humble in the world, then maybe that's a good thing.

And maybe the world will be a better place in XYZ in a number of years. But it all starts back with ourselves, right? We better have our own- A: even just articulate a theory of change so that we're not just walking through the world and coasting through the world as passive participants and then B: actually doing it and walking the walk and practicing what we preach.

AD : On Naseem. That's really, really well said. And I just wanna say before I turn it back over to Nolan here, thank you both Naseem. Rob, thanks for joining us today. Thanks for your insights. Looking forward to having you back on sometime down the road.

NK : This was so much fun. Thank you.

NM : So with that, thanks for listening to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Really appreciate it. If you haven't already, please rate, review and subscribe to the podcast and we'll catch you in the next episode.

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