This election year was full of lessons to all involved. But regardless of one’s ideologic preferences or whether one ended up at the end of last night on the “winning” or “losing” end of the polls, we’re all “losers” if we don’t analyze and take heed to the lessons moving forward. And these lessons, while having played out in the sphere of public policy, are equally applicable to nearly any organization with a desire to grow as a vibrant, relevant, and sustainable entity.
The real choice facing us is this….do we finally move forward toward true negotiated, intelligent, and coolaborative (in the political world, insert “bi-partisan” solutions to the challenges facing the us, or do we allow a continuation of stonewalled approach to each other based on the our personal ideology? So, as business owners, entrepreneurs, employees or represented citizens, here’s your choice…..you can choose to influence those around you (including your elected officials) to set aside their stubborn ideologies for the sake of the greater good, or you can abdicate your right to being an engaged worker, boss, leader, or plain citizen (which comes with the throwing away of any legitimacy for complaints, as well). To blame is easy….to truly own a piece of a solution is much more difficult, but ultimately, much better for all involved.
In the public realm, as in many organizations, what we have now is a “winner take all” mentality….but unfortunately, a path of ideologic obstruction and of ignorance to alternative perspectives is a recipe for no true winners….and that includes all of us. So, don’t sit back and insist that simply because the election is behind us (regardless of who you supported), public forums and open dialogue, whether it takes place over the water cooler, in the break room, or on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter should shrink back to discussions only as substantive as commenting on the shoes Snooki may or may not have worn while delivering her baby, who was eliminated this week on DWTS, or your favorite sports team banter. Civic AND organizational responsibility and involvement are not Olympic events, to be undertaken (or tolerated) every on occasion or conveniently every four years. They are lifelong marathons….
And I for one refuse to stop advocating for those positions in which I believe and challenging those that I don’t. For that’s the fabric of an active and engaged leader or citizen. We don’t have to agree. I expect many times we will not. But we do have the right AND the responsibility to engage in the dialogue about what’s working and what’s not. The passions of all of use (regardless of our position in the organizational hierarchy or of out ideologic perspectives) are noteworthy, but pointless if only fanned for periodically. If you have true passions and a real desire to move your organization or this country forward, check yourself at the door when you stake out a non-negotiable, obstructionist stance or when you complain because your friends are engaging in debate on issues of public policy or organizational leadership that interferes with your gorging on the cheese curds of reality tv on your social media feed. Those curds may be tasty, and in moderation they can be heavenly….but they’re doing little to help tone your abs.
It’s about time that we as a community focus not only on the greasy carbs of our ideologic positions, but on the sustained improvement of our overall organizational health, as a company or a country. And that takes all of us insisting on multilateral dialogue and accepting that along with those tasty curds and home brew, sometimes we need to opt instead for a salad and some water to reach our fitness goals. So, whether you’re on the side of the victors or not in this election, whether you’re a leader or a follower in your organization, insist that the future be one of compromise and conciliation, cooperation and communion. And that takes effort….like it or not. So, own it. We owe that to ourselves, or organizations, and all those around us….