Communicating Possibilities: A Brief Introduction to the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM)
by Ilene C. Wasserman and Beth Fisher-Yoshida
Taos Institute Publications, 2017
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Paperback, 116 pages
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Communicating Possibilities is an introduction to the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM), a practical theory which at its roots, is an approach to looking at our social interactions. In the process of stepping back to look at our interactions and how we construct our social worlds, we open possibilities of alternative paths and outcomes. CMM offers tools and frameworks to use so when we pause and notice what we are making together and how, we open up spaces to make better choices with more desirable relationships each turn of the way. This book offers ways we can better notice how we shape our lives through the stories we create in our ongoing conversations, and, hopefully strengthen the quality of our communities at all levels.
Ilene C. Wasserman, Ph.D.
Ilene Wasserman is the CEO of ICW Consulting Group, an organization development and leadership consultancy that advises, facilitates, coaches and supports senior executives and organizations on relational leadership, and capacity building with a focus on building inclusive cultures. Concurrently, she is a Senior Fellow at the McNulty Leadership Program at the Wharton Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and Executive in Residence for the Center for Creative Leadership, where she provides executive coaching as well as guidance on leadership and innovations in Organization Development and Leadership. She serves on the faculty of the Organization Development and Leadership program at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is also a founding Board member of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution.
Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Ph.D., CCS
Email: [email protected]
Beth Fisher-Yoshida is a Facilitator, Educator, Mediator and Executive Coach, who partners with clients to develop initiatives that will foster change resulting in improved communication, organizational performance and quality of life. She is President and CEO of Fisher Yoshida International, LLC, and Director and Faculty of the Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and Co-Executive Director of the Advanced Consortium for Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4) at the Earth Institute, both at Columbia University. She is also a founding Board member of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution.
Communicating Possibilities is an inspiring book about how to use CMM in the various contexts of our lives—from our most intimate relationships to the larger systems of which we are a part. Wasserman and Fisher-Yoshida provide relevant and useful examples that help the reader see how to use CMM mindfully and compassionately in all aspects of our social worlds. This book is a “must read” for anyone interested in living intentionally and compassionately in our complex and divided world. I’m so happy for both of you…and we are all the better to have this book in circulation!!
- Kim Pearce Founder and President, CMMI for Human and Social Evolution
Communicating Possibilities exemplifies what it means to live one’s life in conversation—noticing details in moments of communication that matter and acting into them to enhance the chances of more desirable outcomes. The approach that Wasserman and Fisher-Yoshida articulate and demonstrate represents CMM’s radical approach to communication in general and turn-taking in particular. Rather than focusing on the cues that enable smooth turn-taking, they argue for interjecting turns that make a difference. This is turn-making at its best.”
- Arthur Jensen, Syracuse University
The treatment of CMM offered by Wasserman and Fisher-Yoshida in Communicating Possibilities is one of if not the best short introductions now available. It provides a strong focus on what makes CMM a distinctive way to understand communication. Its examples are clear and I expect readily understood by students, teachers and practitioners. I am particularly impressed by the way the authors have shown the connection between "cosmopolitan communication" and the other features of CMM theory. Given the present political situation that is surely and important contribution.
- Vernon Cronen, University of North Carolina; UMASS Amherst.
This much-needed volume, Communicating Possibilities, provides an illuminating introduction to a ground-breaking theory of communication. Pearce and Cronen’s ideas on the Coordinated Management of Meaning virtually transformed our conception of human communication. Most importantly, the ideas could be usefully applied to everyday life – in organizations, therapy, family exchanges, informal relations, and more. With new tools for reflection, new and more productive possibilities for action emerge, conflicts are reduced, collaboration encouraged, and creativity unleashed. With caring clarity, and rich illustration, Wasserman and Yoshida provide an invaluable introduction to this fascinating domain.
- Kenneth J. Gergen, Swarthmore College; The Taos Institute and author of An Invitation to Social Construction
This important book by Wasserman & Fisher-Yoshida provides useful examples and explanations of some of the essential features of CMM, such as a systemic understanding of patterns of communication, multiple contextual constructions of meaning, and a framework for mapping out complex processes of social interaction to make changes or open new possibilities. Especially effective is the emphasis Wasserman & Fisher-Yoshida place on sequential and reflexive unfolding of meaning and action. In light of the challenges we face in these times, such a heuristic communication model is especially needed, one that considers the social construction of ethics, different forms of awareness, and patterns of communication that we create together. This introduction to CMM provides valuable resources and tools that facilitate an ongoing conversation filled with new possibilities.
- Victoria Chen, San Francisco State University