Difficult Conversations

09 Mar

During the fall 2017 elections, it was reported that the most important domestic issue on the minds of voters was healthcare. If you haven’t read it, the winter issue of The Circle was devoted to matters of health including the work of our circles in raising money for health-related charitable causes, members of our organization for whom health is a very significant concern, and O∆K leaders who are engaged in advocating for better health on a daily basis.

One thing which insurers, patients, and healthcare providers have in common is the experience of engaging in difficult conversations.

There is the hard talk when a physician has to tell a patient or family about a diagnosis without a lot of hope. There is the often frustrating conversation with an insurance provider about coverage. Hardly a day goes by where we see and hear our leaders in Congress debate about the role of government in healthcare.

While matters of health and healthcare are major concerns of many Americans, equally as unsettling is the inability of individuals to engage in discussions where different points of view are considered. The national leadership of Omicron Delta Kappa shares this concern.

As I noted in a previous column in The Circle, O∆K’s very mission is to encourage members in developing an appreciation for civility, varying perspectives, and conflict resolution. For this reason, a portion of the programming at the upcoming 2018 National Biennial Convention and Leadership Conference will be focused on helping circles develop strategies so that they may become leaders in facilitating difficult conversations on their campuses. A section of our online leadership hub, O∆K Leadership Matters, is devoted to resources available to circles and members related to both collaboration and civility including:

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence’s CoLab which promotes best practices in developing and sustaining collaborative efforts;
The University of Arizona’s National Institute for Civil Discourse which advocates for the integration of research, policy, and practice for sustaining an engaged citizenry, a fair and accurate media, and elected officials who can work collaboratively and civilly with others; and
The Pacific Educational Group’s Courageous Conversation™ protocol that helps institutions and individuals address and understand the disparities in achieving racial equity in education through engaging in cross-racial dialogue.

Our initiation ceremony acknowledges the role of Omicron Delta Kappa in “providing leadership in worthy undertakings and to be of service to others.” Finding the courage to engage in difficult conversations about all sorts of issues is most certainly worthy of the service provided by our circles. I hope many members will join our leadership in advancing O∆K’s initiatives in support of collaboration and civility.

Yours in Leadership,

Tara S. Singer, Ed.D.
Executive Director

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