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By Marisa Geitner, president and C.E.O.

As we continue to explore ways to better share common places and welcome one another in the relationship of community, let’s unpack where we really are with welcoming diverse experience and thinking.

When someone shares an opinion that appears different from our own, do we lean in and listen?  Do we ask questions to understand their perspective or do we check them off the list and begin conversation with someone else?  When we need to tackle a tough problem or a new community issue do we reach out broadly and welcome others in or do we retreat to pal with those who we know “see it our way?”

With a hurdle to clear far too often we are quick to implement ideas and aim to fix, therefore it’s natural that we tend to group with others who have similar tendencies and views.  What feels natural here, however, has been proven to not yield strong results.  Rather, learning and sustainable change comes through a diverse dialogue of exploring and clarifying the challenge; sharing broad and different ideas to approach the matter; good time in development of next steps and then implementation.  Each piece of the process is so very important. With others around the table who have diverse gifts, the challenge gets clearer and the way forward is productive and thoughtful.

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