The Heineken ad that portrays diametrically opposed individuals coming together around a common task (building a bar, of course) and ultimately having a beer, has stirred considerable controversy. Yes, it rosily suggests that we can begin to bridge some of our most painful divides (misogyny vs feminism, one-man-one-woman vs transgender right to be) simply by engaging in a project, sharing a few things about ourselves and, listening to one another.
Granted, none of these are bad things, and stranger things have happened than individuals becoming friendly without realizing they hold very different views and values. The push back comes when the ease with which it happens seems to minimize the significance of the differences or the pain that they have caused.
So ok, let’s give Heineken a thumbs up for the attempt. But let’s also get honest about what it takes to really create constructive dialogue among people who hold fundamentally and profoundly different world-views.
Here are a few tips for anyone who really wants to try it:
For more tips, approaches and skills to learn see The Power of Difference, From Conflict to Collaboration in Five Steps, by Dana Morris-Jones, available on Amazon.com