Years ago as a former military officer, Don was troubled by his ineffectiveness in the civilian world. In 1984, desperate to relinquish the authority-based model he learned in the Marines, Don studied under Dr. Thomas Gordon (Leader Effectiveness Training,). There he learned to collaborate with those around him. In 1991, to better learn the process, he began facilitating quarterly workshops in the education department at Seattle Pacific University. These days his Collaborative Center (AKA Negotionics) is opening a new front, transitioning from teachers to the commercial domain. Don is determined to change the impression of millennial employees from annoying job-hoppers to thoughtful contributors in the decision-making process. The wretched image of millennials is well known, as is the frustration when dealing with them. As shop owner Bryan Kelly bemoans, “When I give them direction nothing gets done.”
Less recognized is the shift from representative democracy to deliberative democracy, the search for more meaningful interaction apart from rank and authority, promoting respect for others as equals and attaining true social equality. This is a quest for basic human needs. “Real participation goes beyond voting to a situation where people and government work in partnership to co-create services and solve problems for the benefit of all” (Journal of Social Justice, Ireland). Don’s chapter four, On Politics, Government, and Community addresses this macro dimension of collaboration. “With effective process, people can generate more creative and comprehensive solutions than they can by themselves” (SJI). Don has invested half-a-lifetime preparing children to enter such a world. Now is the time to invite Corporate America, particularly business owners and supervisory managers, to join the thrust toward a more deliberative workplace. Our nation’s young people are ready.