Celebrating Our Differences to Enhance Collaboration + Teamwork, Pt. I

Friday, February 15, 2008



I have been disheartened and saddened by what has been happening during the last few months in the primary elections campaigns. This is going to be the first in several posts on this issue, and its implications to our capacity, as a nation, to build collaboration and teamwork, or to accomplish our declared goals.


Negative advertising, libelous attacks on candidates – we have seen them all in previous years (anyone remembers the scurrilous attacks on John Kerry ?).

What is really troubling me this year is the fact that we are viewing a double momentous watershed: the simultaneous candidacy of a white woman and of an Afro American man for the job or President of the United States. A huge Break-Through is happening.

Yet what could be a time of festivity is turning into a blood letting, on both sides. What could be a cause for celebration is turning into a fight that will leave both of these extraordinary candidates diminished, no matter who wins.

It could have been a landmark election, in which two ‘minority’ candidates are running for the presidency. Instead, it is fast becoming the year when the very consolidation of the democratic party seems increasingly less probable – and that at time when it is most needed.

In total disregard for real needs - of the party, of the nation - a dramatic rift is taking place within the democratic party.

This is a year where it looks possible that the Republican Party can lose the presidency. A year when coming together in collaboration and teamwork are more needed than ever among democrats of different hues. But instead, wounds are inflicted by the followers of both of the groundbreaking candidates. In the name of ‘My View are Better than Yours’, the common ground is forgotten. Worse, the prospect for eventual partnership once a candidate is selected is being shredded as we speak.


Sadly, the fault – the acrimonious nature of the race – is equally divided among the adversaries. The so-called ‘old’ and ‘new’ guards, the Caucasian women and the Afro Americans, the idealistic and the pragmatists, the younger voters and the middle-aged ones, have all have cast the other side as ‘demonic’ and ‘the enemy of the people.’ They all violated their official principles. No one’s hands are clean.

ACHIEVEMENT of GOALS - How, What's Necessary, What Aides its Completion ?

I will direct my attention away from the spectacle of this blood-thirsty election process, and speak of the practical value of diversity and differences in an arena I am an expert on: accomplishing goals most effectively, and building collaborative alliances and teams.

I have several underlying questions here:

Are we as a nation willing to truly stop casting those different than us – whoever they are - as ‘diabolical’ in order to freely attack and damage them?

Are we as a nation ready to give up the Lone Ranger mythology, and truly appreciate the power and productive effect of building alliances and teams?

Are we as a nation willing to sincerely and fully relinquish prejudices and bias, in order to collaborate and team up with others, across gender, race, ethnic origin, creed, or age?

Are we as a nation willing to access, and benefit from, the immense advantage that comes when we build such teams and partnerships, and include, rather than exclude, members with diverse viewpoints, backgrounds, race, cultures, education levels ?


My aim in this series of posts is to bring all of us from the level of abstract ideology and catchy slogans, back to some basic pragmatic questions:

*What is the best way to determine how to act, in pursuing a highly cherished goal ?

*What can we do to discover the most effective means to expedite the Goal Achievement process?

*What role do Collaboration and Teamwork play in such a process?

*How do we weigh the needs of short-term objectives against the requirements of long-term goal(s)?

More specifically, how do we balance the desire to win a battle against the need to be victorious in ending the war?

*What price do we pay when we divorce ‘winning’, or ‘accomplishing our objective,’ from the manner in which we achieve that ‘win’ ?

*Do ethical principles, such as loyalty or trust, have any pragmatic value in accomplishing any goals? Do they play a practical role in the building of alliances and teamwork?

*How do we prioritize our use of assets, strategies and techniques, so that we accomplish our long term objectives as well as stay true to our declared values?

A discussion of these points will follow in the next few post.

May all of us find the way to bridge and heal the growing divide, so that we as a nation may win.



Copyright © 2008 Dinnah G. Pladott, Ph.D., All Rights Preserved


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alien said...

In today's environment, it is all about looking good and creating a perception that you're the go to guy/gal. You want to look like you can walk on water and make sure that you have some of your cronies doing your dirty work. Teamwork is ok as long as the "team" is making you look good. My two cents.


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