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Transforming polarized politics in the Minnesota state legislature

Miki Kashtan

Convergent Facilitation can bring about dramatic and breakthrough shifts in groups, even when they have been stuck for a long time.

A group comprised of Minnesota legislators, lobbyists, lawyers, advocacy groups, judges, and child development experts. The issue they were facing was child custody legislation. They were about as divided on the issue as any group could be. So much so that it took a major effort to get them all to agree to be in the same room together. Two years later, the group approved unanimously, sixteen different changes to their state’s legal system that they all thought were an improvement on what previously existed.

Along the way, one legislator said: “I don’t want to be identified with a side. We are no longer doing that. We are a group of people working together to solve problems.”

If this sounds like incredible magic, extraordinary luck, or exceptional talent, we see it differently. We have trained many people in this methodology, including people who didn’t necessarily imagine they could achieve spectacular results, who then went on to have their own amazing successes.