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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 10 | CHAPTER ONE Juanita Brown, “Conversation is the core process by which we humans think and coordinate our actions together. . . . Conversation is our human way of creating and sus- taining—or transforming—the realities in which we live.” 27 Conversations with this intent involve three distinct forms: dialogue, discussion, and advocacy. When skillfully practiced, the interplay of these three conversational forms can mobilize new ways of thinking and acting. This makes them ideal for initiating ECE’s journey of transformative systems change. I can imagine eyes rolling! ECE often is criticized for talking too much and using talk as a tactic to avoid taking action. The interactions being launched by this book, though, use conversations as a means for getting to action. Dialogue in conjunction with what Rick Ross and William Isaacs call “skilled discussion” and “balanced advocacy” foster shared understanding and relationship bonds that will be needed for future phases of this work. 28 They also support collaborative learn- ing and generate new best practice possibilities. Specifically, conversations over- laid with intentionality can • create a different conversational canvas for planning an alternative future for ECE; • fashion options for realizing ECE as a professional field of practice; and • lay needed groundwork for what lies ahead. You’re invited to join these conversations so ECE’s next era benefits from your knowledge and experience. ENTERING ECE’S NEXT ERA THROUGH CONVERSATIONS WITH INTENT This book shepherds the field’s entry into a new developmental phase, one that will be fashioned by the field’s dedication to realizing ECE’s potential, even while necessarily being contoured by current realities. Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey perhaps best express the dynamic nature of the work ahead: “We must grow into our future possibilities.” 29 The work of restructuring ECE as a field of practice is a tough challenge. Its transformation will not be born from a detailed blueprint or emerge in response COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL