Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge

Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge

Social Constructive Dialogue

From the perspective of this fourth map, the best pathway will bring about the integration of compassion, consideration, and engagement—rather than these values and accompanying perspectives being framed as non-reconcilable polarities (Bergquist, 2020). This fourth Rainbow map requires that we must not only slow down our thinking and be both considerate and compassionate, as well as fully engaged in action (rather than remaining frozen). We must collectively engage in constructive, extended conversations about current COVID-19 policies and future policies regarding ongoing pandemic challenges. These conversations must include members of our local community nation who offer diverse perspectives and expertise. Our table must be broadly constituted and filled with open, appreciative deliberations. Ultimately, we must invite an even broader, global community to the table.

We can start by convening a table in our own organization or community. We can think globally, but act locally. Who should be invited to our local table and what virus-related issues do we first address? Then we can move outward to a table situated in a broader venue. At whatever level we convene the table, those who participate must engage in what Ken and Mary Gergen describe as social constructive dialogue (Gergen and Gergen, 2004). This dialogue yields a shared narrative (social construction) filled with both hope and reality—with both consideration and compassion. The social construction of a dominant collective narrative that is valid (consideration), hopeful (compassion) and pragmatic (action-oriented) requires that we not leave either the policy formulation or the narrative construction to the designated leaders. We should not rely on these leaders to solve the virus problems, for this would be nothing more than regression to an old (and highly authoritarian) reliance on other people to solve our collective problems.

Put simply, we must avoid other people constructing our collective narrative for us about the cause and cure of COVID-19 (and other future pandemics). Instead, we must participate in (and encourage our leaders to join us) in the engagement of a polarity-based analysis of not just the various options available to us in coping with COVID-19, but also the options available to us in addressing future pandemic challenges (Bergquist, 2020).


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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