Common Ground Committee at the Points of Light Conference

Common Ground Committee CEO, Bruce Bond, moderated a panel of business leaders from Allstate, Fidelity Investments and National Healthcare Service Corporation at the Points of Light Conference held in Chicago from June 14th to 16th.  Business leaders were specifically interested in how to address polarization in the workplace. Many were not aware that a bridge movement exists.

Bruce shared data from Pew Research showing that while Americans on both sides believed the opposite party members to have dishonest and immoral traits, the news is not all bad. In reality, Americans are much more closely aligned on major issues such as immigration.

The big question of course was how to address these issues in the workplace.  Common Ground Committee’s Ten Attributes were a starting point for discussion.  Business leaders shared insights in the follow up discussion.

Here are a few key points that were shared:

  • If my corporate social responsibility team is all thinking alike on an issue, then we’re not thinking! We need to question our echo chambers.
  • Our challenge internally is to have better arguments to find better solutions that work to meet the objective.
  • One of our first internal rules to find common ground is taking winning off the table.
  • To decide if our company takes on an issue, we must be aligned with our company values, we must be clear how our stakeholders will benefit, we must know what we’re talking about, and decide if we can really make a difference or not.
  • As business leaders we must place relationships ahead of the task in order to find common ground.
  • The stakes are higher these days in business. We must listen. We must be very strategic and prepared when engaging on social issues. We must know our company DNA. Can we really move the ball?

For more in depth information on combatting polarization in the workforce, please visit, Common Ground Committee’s business portal and white paper, The Business Case for Civics Education.