As I reconnected from the road, the perspectives stood in stark contrast. I know the team is committed to a shared goal. I understand that they bring different skills and capabilities to the table. One can see their commitment to a shared goal. It is also clear that they are buried in the challenge. The pressure to work through the differences and voids is only increasing with time.
The challenges they are facing are not unique. Committed people come with strong views, competitive drives, and a desire to get to the destination. Striking the balance between individual effort and team collaboration is rarely obvious. Additionally, perspectives have logic and facts behind them. Knowing how to hold onto the important while working with others is an art.
With the full acknowledgment that I will be in their shoes as soon as I am back, I offer the following reminders to myself.
First, whatever observation one makes, good or bad, it likely true in some way. While everyone is working towards a common goal, it is also true there are individuals with distinct ideas. I do not know if they are right or wrong. I do know that there is a good chance that we could fall into an old conundrum. One man’s summary went like this; “You’re all picking sides, going around saying, ‘I’m on Paul’s side,’ or ‘I’m for Apollos,’ or ‘Peter is my man,’ or ‘I’m in the Messiah group.’” (1 Corinthians 1.12) The sum of the individuals is not what makes a team unique. It is the mystery of what happens when the community is greater than the sum of its parts.
Second, hearing what others have to say opens up the possibility for greater insight. The collective vision is always more than an individual’s. There is room for pragmatism, often later rather than sooner.
Third, content will trump visuals. It is important that compassion come with action. Charts come with content. Our words and actions need rationale.
The reminders come with a warning; it can take time for this equation to play out.