Members founded CED on a commitment to dialogue-a process of listening and speaking on common ground. Dialogue does not hide conflict. It is listening and speaking in ways that encourage understanding, new thinking, and cooperation. Guided by skilled staff and facilitators, CED sessions allow participants time to explore key strategic issues. Linda Gioja and other CED facilitators have worked with the Plenary to guide the CED dialogue into deeper communications than in typical round table discussions. By encouraging honest, open exchanges of ideas and respectful, thoughtful listening, the CED dialogue moves beyond the sum of any one member’s knowledge. This is the notion of “collective intelligence.”

In a society as diverse as California, environmental solutions require support from a broad set of interests. The Plenary uses dialogue to deepen understanding of alternative views, learn together, and develop better policy recommendations than are typical in competitive public debate. CED seeks to develop this support for innovative and efficient policy solutions among its members, key decision makers, and the public.

Dialogue is —

  • A way of speaking and listening to help participants understand other’s points of view, develop a common understanding of interests and issues, define and clarify the nature of disagreements, and identify alternative approaches to dealing with conflict
  • A way of building trust between business, governmental, and not-for-profit communities
  • A way of developing relationships on which to build progress
  • A way of heightening the quality of relationships and shared meaning to encourage novel and productive thinking, and new and aligned action
  • A way of suspending, but not hiding, beliefs to allow examination of their rationale

Ground Rules for CED Dialogue —

  • Participation is non-partisan
  • Comments are not to be attributed publicly to individuals and discussions are confidential
  • Listening, and how one is listening, are as important as speaking
  • Reasoning and assumptions are to be explicit
  • Other’s assumptions are explored without personal criticism
  • Commitment to the process is ongoing