Friday, September 2, 2011
Are Two Heads Really Better Than One?
There is an old saying that "two heads are better than one." Do you believe it? I do! If two heads are better than one, then dozens or hundreds or thousands must be EVEN better. Because I believe it I cannot help but wonder why we are all waiting for the government to resolve our problems. Politicians cannot stop campaigning or arguing long enough to focus on solutions and gaining consensus. I firmly believe that in every neighborhood, community, city and town of any size in America we have the capacity, the intelligence, and the ability to resolve many of our problems on local levels. Think about it! When this country was first settled people were strong, brave, resourceful, resilient, and optimistic in spite of all the odds. They were entrepreneurs (or actually the first solopreneurs even though this is a recently coined word). Whether they were farmers, blacksmiths, storekeepers, bankers, ranchers, saloon keepers, sheriffs, deputies, preachers, teachers or doctors they assessed what they and their communities needed, and they made things happen. They helped each other, and they shared with those less fortunate. Did they always agree? No. Were they always successful? No. Did they make mistakes? Yes. Did they make progress anyway? You bet they did. Did they have any of the many assets we have today such as education, communication, technology, health care, medications, transportation, etc.? No! Yet somehow they managed to create a country that was envied by the entire world, a country where people longed to come to fulfill dreams, a country where freedom existed, and a country where slavery and segregation were finally ended. We all have the ability to work together, and yet we act as if we are a flock of sheep waiting for Little Bo Peep to find us and guide us home. I am convinced that if people would come together in a spirit of unity to prioritize what the community's needs are, determine all the available resources, distinguish between what is necessary and what is desirable, and be more concerned with the good of the community than the good of the individual that ideas for solutions would flow faster than anyone could write them down. Because there are problems and there are symptoms of problems it must be agreed that problems are to be solved and symptoms will take care of themselves as a byproduct of problem solving. An unbiased, objective, fair facilitator must lead each group to ensure everyone is heard and no one is shut down even though others may disagree with what is being said. Respect and courtesy are a must. Once everyone has had a chance to contribute to the vast list of "problems" then as a group they must decide if each item is a symptom or an actual problem. Very quickly it will become clear that while there may be a jillion symptoms the actual number of problems is manageable. People get overwhelmed when they think they have to solve all the symptoms, but once problems are identified and prioritized then the formation of solutions can begin, time and action calendars developed,and individual or group responsibilities established for the actions. Call me crazy, but I know that this approach works. For what are we waiting? Let's put our heads together and do it!