Collaboration or Confrontation?

For those of you in volunteer leadership positions in your community, I’m hoping you are in an atmosphere of collaboration and cooperation. A place where everyone is working for the good of the community at all times – never forgetting that a rising tide will raise all boats.

Over the last year, in my volunteer leadership position, I’ve had the honor of working with many leaders who were all focused on collaborating for the good of the community. Unfortunately, I also experienced a few who were more interested in confrontation than collaboration. I understand that everyone has an opinion. I also understand that while we may all agree on the end goal, we will have different methods of getting there. Not wrong – just different.

What I don’t understand is the posturing, negative commentary and hostile environment that some feel they must create in order to defend their turf or pound their chest. Do they think that if the goal is met, it is due to their sole efforts? That’s not likely. Anything important that occurs in a community is usually because of the joint efforts of the leadership in that community. Why do we keep forgetting that?

Let’s use a basic example: We all agree that we need transportation, infrastructure and quality educational institutions in our communities. So, why would we continually shoot ourselves in the foot by arguing about the journey we need to take to get to the results we want? To make it worse, we do that arguing, and name calling, in the public media. So instead of presenting a united front where we can accomplish that end goal, we present a divided region that continually is left with the crumbs.

Why can we not sit down, discuss, debate and come to agreement on a plan of action that incorporates the best of all of our viewpoints? Once that plan is developed, we can then all work toward it – according to the action steps we’ve defined. I’m betting that we would get more of what we want instead of less than what we need.

Just some food for thought!

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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