Read inside for more from Ira Chaleff.

"I Can't Even Talk to Them"
When you make your living through invitations to speak, talking politics in your newsletter is not usually a good idea. But not talking about politics when it is choking the air we breathe may be a worse idea.

Of all the phenomena and reactions since the results of the US presidential election there is one that has me most disturbed. It is the number of people who have told me they cannot speak to their families and friends who voted differently than they did, or whose family and friends are not speaking to them for the same reason.
We are in archetypal territory here. This is the Old Testament brothers Jacob and Esau, whose rivalry for dominion over their land caused decades of estrangement, and the near death of one or both in violent confrontation.

The story is laden with themes of the masculine and the feminine, of deceit and betrayal, of birthright and fitness to lead, of accepting outsiders into the lineage, of material expediency and spiritual values. The parallels in the story are both glaring and imperfect, but they are powerfully cautionary.

The redeeming act in this primal story, and the one I wish to lift up here, occurs when one of the brothers insists on reconciliation and the other relents and joins in the act of reconciling. In my reading, it is not important which one begins the reconciliation.

We live in a fractal universe. What does that mean? In human (as distinct from mathematical) terms it means that patterns at a small scale continuously repeat at larger and larger scales. This is known as "self sameness". An example would be democratic habits that were established at small town meetings in pre-revolutionary America scaling up to become the habits and norms at larger and larger levels of self-governance. 
Like all models applied to human behavior this imperfectly describes reality, yet is useful in helping us understand what we are experiencing and what we might do next.
For the distraught people who have told me they cannot talk to their friends and family who voted differently: this is precisely what you must do. Conversations to understand each other at the smallest level are needed for productive conversations to occur at the larger national and global level. Please try.
Yes, I know all about how the self-reinforcing social media divide has resulted in vastly different and distorted conceptions of the world. Start at the smallest level. Be more committed to listening than to talking. I can almost promise that you will find common ground emerge from which healing can begin and from there find ways for going forward.


There is a crucial role for Intelligent Disobedience in a time of political uncertainty. But it may not be what you think. Please see my post-election blog entry to compare my thoughts with your own.


I am not an author in order to sell books. I am an author in order to introduce and reinforce ideas in the world that will make a positive difference. Therefore, I get great satisfaction when I hear that my books are being used in institutions that themselves make a difference.
 In the last few months I have been told that my model of courageous followership has been incorporated into government institutions ranging from the US Department of the Treasury to the Central Intelligence Agency to West Point - the US Military Academy. These follow other agencies that have also incorporated the book and its ideas into their leadership curriculum. In a number of these cases I have been invited to speak with the managers and work with the trainers to enrich their presentation of the principles of courageous followership. You may find my interview with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency an interesting example of this.   If I can be of help to your organization in this way please let me know.  


The Courageous Follower has been available in multiple languages for many years. Now Intelligent Disobedience is following suit. As we speak, teams in Beijing and Korea are translating the book and developing culturally appropriate ideas for introducing it.  Unrelated to this initiative, I will be going to Hong Kong next month to give a keynote address to educators from 24 English speaking schools on the relationship of Intelligent Disobedience to child safety and development.
Last month I was in Costa Rica with a Latina colleague piloting how to incorporate the concepts of courageous followership into the leadership development program of an innovative and principled private sector multi-business line company. As you read in the last newsletter, this past Spring I gave a talk on Intelligent Disobedience at Cape Town University in South Africa. 
In all these opportunities I look for local advocates who can design and conduct their own programs on these critical subjects.  


Whatever holidays  you celebrate, and whatever rituals you and your family or friends  have for doing so, as we in the northern hemisphere enter earth's winter cycle let's remember that the other half of our planet enters its summer cycle.  That perspective can help keep a sense of balance in our own lives. From this balanced position we can with gratitude enjoy and participate in the precious freedoms we have and always be vigilant to preserve those freedoms.