The Third Side

Posted by  GeoffBrown —December 1, 2010
Filed in Facilitation, Leadership

William Ury offers an elegant way of looking at world peace and the role we can all play. He offers both tangible stories of ‘how’ it is being done … and a model to support it. He calls it the 3rd Side and it’s also the role of the facilitator – known in some circles as the 3rd Communication Position.

The 3rd side, in the context of war, is us … all of us. As the 1st and 2nd side argue, disagree and battle with each other with a loss of perspective, ‘we’ on the 3rd side surround them and can “take them to the balcony” with us. On the 3rd side, as friends, family members and colleagues, we can remind the waring parties of what’s at stake and remind them of ‘purpose’. And like Toke Moeller says … “purpose is the invisible leader”.

Ury also helps me to build a visual image of the connectedness that we strive for in moving from Communities of Practice to Systems of Influence – this is where the big, seismic shifts in human endeavour can occur … just as new systems emerge in nature. I liked his final quote (an African Proverb) …

“When spider webs unite, they can halt even the Lion” and …

“If we are able to unite our 3rd Side webs of peace, we can even halt the Lion of War”


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