Tom Atlee: Listening for Change

Cultural Intelligence, IO Deeds of Peace
Tom Atlee
Tom Atlee

Good facilitation can help us hear each other in ways that free up our collective energy for change. Here is a provocative story about how nonviolence activists can use that power – and the spirit with which it needs to be used to be most effective.

Listening for Change: A remarkable essay by a remarkable colleague

Rosa Zubizarreta and I have been colleagues for more than two decades. She was part of a group in the early-mid 1990s that critiqued drafts of a book I was writing on co-intelligence. Years later, she was the driving force to get my first published book, THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY, actually written, edited, and out in the world. She became my closest companion in the realm of Dynamic Facilitation and Wisdom Councils, vital tools in both our efforts. Her masters thesis on Dynamic Facilitation evolved into a DF training manual and then into her truly breakthrough book FROM CONFLICT TO CREATIVE COLLABORATION. I recommend her Dynamic Facilitation trainings whenever I can.

Rosa has a very special capacity to be present with people, accompanying them on their progressive discovery of what matters, what’s possible, and what they can do, with a very light touch. You can find out much more about her, her writings, and her offerings at her website

Several months ago Rosa initiated a brilliant pilot program for the Co-Intelligence Institute, the CII Fellows calls. In these teleconferencing calls a group of 16 CII-associated people with projects help each other think about those projects, one project per call, two calls each month. Near the end of each call, I take 5-10 minutes to highlight some of the co-intelligent aspects, dynamics and possibilities I noticed in the project and in our discussion about it. This unique activity is both a support group for change agents doing co-intelligent work and a learning experience for everyone involved. The pilot has been going very well and we view it as a great example of the kind of activity we in the Co-Intelligence Institute hope to nurture as part of a growing transformational learning community of co-intelligence practitioners during the coming year.

Rosa’s essay below tells a story that, as she says, “is paradigmatic of the deeply synergistic kind of relationship that can exist between activism and facilitation,” between “the listening arts and social change…”

Read full story.