Lesson 050: Finding common ground
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 2/18 ('Up the Long Ladder')


Two different races of human off-springs from two different planets have the capability to help each other survive by forming a symbiotic relationship.

However, while on board the Enterprise negotiating the idea of working together, one party considers the other primitive, hostile, disruptive and requiring a great deal of effort just to educate them, while the other party resents these remarks and asserts that his people have no intentions of begging the other side for their help.

Capt. Picard immediately intervenes by stating that he will not allow posturing and bigotry to destroy the meeting.

Seeing their respective fear of each other is based on the stark differences between them, Capt. Picard finds common ground with both parties by saying that it is the differences amongst humans that has made the human race stronger.


When faced with adversarial parties in a meeting, it is always advisable for the moderator or meeting chairman to seek out and highlight first, the common grounds of benefit, or possible harm, to all involved in the event the meeting should fail.

While it is the obvious goals of each party to try to get their point across, or their issues addressed, or their demands met, regardless of the consequences on the other party, the moderator must try to highlight the wins and losses for each side in each scenario objectively.

Citing vivid living or historical examples of similar situations is always an excellent venue for the lines of discussion.

Above all, it is unwise to avoid any glaring issues, such as the intrinsic and perhaps even cultural differences between the parties involved.

By embracing the differences and acknowledging their influences on the agenda at hand, both parties can at least perhaps begin to try to understand the other side and benefit mutually from the ensuing discussions.

Back to lessons in Management

Disclaimer: This website is not associated or endorsed by Paramount Pictures or CBS Studios Inc., the owners of the Star Trek trademarks, related marks and copyrights. References to Star Trek material on this web site complies with the Fair or Acceptable Use Principle established in the U.S. and International copyright law for the purposes of review, study, criticism and news reporting. No copyright infringement is intended by this website. All original work provided on this website is the sole copyrighted property of and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission from