This is so helpful! Oftentimes I find how difficult is to get cross-functional processes (quite often derived from opposite view points) in place even when a problem is well understood by all sides. So, the issue that remains to be addressed is, how to see all the different viewpoints through a single prism and still get it communicated and resolved across communities or organizations?

One time in my life I was working with a group of international peacekeepers on solving an conflict involving three indigenous groups — sometimes heavily armed — in Suriname, near the border with French-guyana. And there is where I first experienced “cross-functional” issues in a humble and yet, hard way — in this case, total miscommunication and mistrust!

The only system in place to get all sides to talk about the problems afflicting their communities, under a single prism, was through explaining how these groups appreciated eating the same fruit (our “system”) and still have totally different views and reasons to interpret that “system”, even if the result was basically the same — the appreciation for “eating” that product.

Sinnce these indigenous groups had been living in the same region of the world for many decades (one group was part of runaway slaves from Africa, another were Amerindians that have occupied those lands for generations, and the other, a mix of rebel mestizos usually more heavily armed and uncontrolled than the other two) — much of that dysfunctional problem had to do with getting on taking different paths to address the same issues. Frustrated with months of negotiations, unfulfilled promises and declarations, once, one of the wise men of one of the tribes involved in the conflict — who taught me how to appreciate eating wild fruits in the jungle — took me for a walk and told me that in order to address and hopefully resolve some of the pressing issues causing the conflict — the problems there were obscuring the views of those involved in the conflict and their sense of responsibility — that I needed to take long walks through the trees as if I was carrying each single problem/accusations under my arms as books, and just listen carefully to the sound of those trees while thinking about ways (processes) to solve my “client’s” problems — which for me meant that I had to read all the books and listen to everyone carefully.

What I was told— and in fact we did lived that moment— was that upon deep analysing each single claim (chapters of the books) and treating all with the same respect, once my walk through the jungle ended and I was back to the village, only those books that remained under my arms would become real “dysfunctional” issues (to be worked on) and I needed to put them back on my shoulders, carrying them as my responsibility . Thus, I needed to solve them! And that’s what I did working with my colleagues. And we ate many fruits in many different ways, depending on to whom we were talking to!