The Highest Common Denominator moves through three phases of a process that brings groups to outcomes that are profoundly collaborative and genuinely supported by all. Through vivid case studies and practical examples, the book explains:
· how to guide people towards solutions that integrate everyone's needs and concerns without requiring compromise;
· how to keep people on track with the task at hand;
· how to invite dissent and engage with it productively; and
· how to attend to the power differences that so often interfere with collaboration.
One case study explores the revision of child custody laws in Minnesota. Lawmakers had been struggling for years to write new legislation that would satisfy stakeholders. When Miki began working with them, many regarded each other with deep mistrust and believed no new laws could be created. The process ended with the creation of legislation that was passed near-unanimously by the state legislature.
In workplace settings, Miki explores how companies can truly achieve a collaborative culture, where employees feel heard and are motivated. Stuart Thorn, retired President and CEO of the Southwire Company, wanted to achieve a truly collaborative culture for his multi-billion-dollar company, all the while he was experiencing friction between division managers and leadership. After bringing Miki in personally to bring his own team toward convergence, he reflects that after reading her book, "I can see that her ability to draw out insights about the inner workings of organizations is not effortless at all, but rather based on a very conscious, thoughtful, and deliberate approach carefully developed over many years of practice and experimentation. This is good news. It means that Miki's skills are transferable."
Ultimately, this book is not just about working with groups. It is an entire re-examination and affirmation of the human heart. Facilitation involves transparency on the part of the one leading it, as well as a deep faith and hope in how even impossible-seeming differences can transform into unity.