United in the same mind and in
the same purpose
11, 2005 - by
Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II
Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The above quote is taken from the first letter of Saint Paul to the
Corinthians. No, I am not going to venture into the realm of
religion. The quote, however, was used in a recent Homily.
Listening as I usually do, I started visualizing how what was being
said not only fit the real world of society at large as was the object
Homilist, but also how it might fit other areas such as business and
government. It is a trick I use to try to really understand what
is being said.
What I heard was something akin to "If you are not with me, you are
against me" or "It is my way or the highway." Or it could be
something like, "To say anything different, is to be a traitor."
The last statement is probably the effect of spending the evening
studying the French Revolution and the life of Robespierre. The
"My way or the highway" comes from experiences in business.
Actually good examples of this type of behavior can be seen in Bob
Herbold's new book The Fiefdom Syndrome. The
first quote "not with me/against me" cuts across all three areas of
What really got me was how these statements can be totally out of
focus. The Biblical verse also contains the statement "that there
be no divisions among you." My concern is that normally there
should always be divisions -- it's not a bad thing. Not
necessarily in the objective, but in the ways of achieving the
objective. My early learning was that there are Objectives,
Goals, Strategies and Measures to be accounted for in every
action. Most of the encounters of differences I have seen are
related to the Goals, not the Objective. Groups generally agree
on the specific objective, the disagreement is usually how to achieve
the objective. If we all followed one way and only one way of
thinking, there would be only one type of fried chicken. Can you
imagine no Kentucky Fried Chicken or only one type of automobile like a
black Ford, for example?
A healthy organization invites differences of opinion and open
discourse, much like the concept of "All One Body" but each having
different "gifts," different points of view to contribute.
It is through the evaluation of differences that we ultimately end up
with the best plan of action. I don't believe I have ever seen
the adoption of the first proposal suggested for any project. It
seems that the combined thinking of a group of people will always be
better than the thoughts of just one person, assuming that the one
person is in the group. Historically, I have found that there is
never a one-to-one Objective/Goal relationship. There are usually
many goals required to achieve one objective. Usually the chosen
way is highly dependent upon the resources available. That is to
say that a lack of resources may well result in selecting a second or
third plan of action choice.
I am reminded of a picture given to me over 30 years ago. I was
leaving my assignment in the Paper Division for a new one in the
Package Soap Division. One of the gifts my group gave me was a
picture of the team taken outside of the Tech Building. If you
turned the picture around, the back contained a photograph of the group
from the rear. The message was that there is always more than one
way to look at a problem. For me, this turned out to be an
extremely valuable concept.
If you take
anything away from this page, I hope it is that what you see depends
upon where you are
standing. In problem solving, walk around the mountain before
developing a plan of action.
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