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Ground Rules Deep Dive #6: Look for solutions with multiple uses

By Milenko Matanovic

Together we are capable of extraordinary achievements. Over the years, Pomegranate Center has proven this by encouraging people to uphold a code of conduct that leads to creativity and collaboration. This code of conduct, what we call “ground rules,” is essential to creating a positive atmosphere that focuses on how things can be improved, free from complaints. In this series of short essays, I will look at different ground rules, evaluate why they are important, and share stories from the field.

When Pomegranate Center runs community meetings, we encourage participants to link their ideas with those of others and develop a plan that meets many goals, or a multiple victories approach. It seems like a no-brainer, but it is surprisingly hard to achieve. The obstacle is that we do not come to these meetings to learn and discover, but to fight for single goals.

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Milenko Looks Back

It has been nearly a year since Milenko Matanovic stepped away from the day-to-day work of running Pomegranate Center, but between speaking engagements, writing, an upcoming art exhibit, and founding the Institute for Everyday Democracy, he’s certainly not slowing down. We sat down and chatted with him about his past work, present endeavors, and future goals–for Pomegranate Center and beyond.

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Ground Rules Deep Dive #5: Reject the Practice and Tactics of Blame

by Milenko Matanovic

Together we are capable of extraordinary achievements. Over the years, Pomegranate Center has proven this by encouraging people to uphold a code of conduct that leads to creativity and collaboration. This code of conduct, what we call “ground rules,” is essential to creating a positive atmosphere that focuses on how things can be improved, free from complaints. In this series of short essays, I will look at different ground rules, evaluate why they are important, and share stories from the field.

We have a president who loves to blame and complain. And, perhaps inspired by such modeling, community meetings now have more and more people who show up to do the same.

Pomegranate Center’s approach has always focused on possibilities. We want to create an atmosphere where the participants can express their hope and offer ideas for how things ought to be. We encourage all to see the gathering as a new beginning, to move beyond what we like or dislike personally and toward what will work for all.

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Ground Rules Deep Dive #4: Respect Those With Whom You Disagree

Together we are capable of extraordinary achievements. Over the years, Pomegranate Center has proven this by encouraging people to uphold a code of conduct that leads to creativity and collaboration. This code of conduct, what we call “ground rules,” is essential to creating a positive atmosphere that focuses on how things can be improved, free from complaints. In this series of short essays, I will look at different ground rules, evaluate why they are important, and share stories from the field.

Opponents are essential for uncovering valuable insights. Enemies are detrimental. They simply shoot down points of view that differ from their own.

Adversaries open our eyes. They help us see a problem from another angle. They remind us that every issue is multifaceted and that the right solution is not in choosing one viewpoint, but to link it to other equally important ones. The solution then can serve multiple uses.

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Ground Rules Deep Dive #3: Everyone Participates

Together we are capable of extraordinary achievements. Over the years, Pomegranate Center has proven this by encouraging people to uphold a code of conduct that leads to creativity and collaboration. This code of conduct, what we call “ground rules,” is essential to creating a positive atmosphere that focuses on how things can be improved, free from complaints. In this series of short essays, I will look at different ground rules, evaluate why they are important, and share stories from the field.

At every meeting, there are those who feel and think that they have the only right answer. Naturally, these active individuals put their ideas forth without hesitation. They may have thought about the issue for a while, or they consider themselves more expert, or they speak longer because it confirms their leadership role. In the meantime, those who are less certain are quietly listening and observing the proceedings. They may think that, compared to these more vocal leaders, their thoughts have less value. So, unless invited, they stay quiet and keep their thoughts to themselves.

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