Why Can’t We Be Friends? 3 Ways to Foster Cohesion.

by Bernie Dyme

teamSo here we go again. Another debt ceiling crisis in our government. I’ve spoken about this in past blog  posts and I certainly don’t want to be redundant but, after all this is a redundant problem. I don’t want to sound corny and quote the band Smash Mouth “why can’t we be friends” but this crisis certainly does beg that question.

We all know how important it is in business and our personal lives to have the ability to get along as our main goal. But those folks in Washington just don’t get it, do they? It seems to them that there is an “I” in team or maybe a better point is that there just ain’t no team.

I have spent a great deal of my career helping organizations  to function more productively and efficiently. There is no magic in this. Success is all about working together as a cohesive unit where everyone pulls in the same direction. To do this effectively, you have to do a few things.

  1. Making sure all parties agree with and at the very least, accept the objectives and goals set by leadership
  2. Insure the freedom and safety for everyone to offer ideas including competing ideas in a respectful manner
  3. Having a mindset that is about alignment wherein all participants in the process want the same thing; a successful outcome.

This doesn’t seem to be what regularly occurs in our government however. Quite the contrary all of the parties seem to feel that only their agenda and ideology is the answer. I once heard it said that successful outcomes occur when all parties feel like they have lost something. That runs counter to our current governmental situation where each party feels that only 100% victory should be the outcome.

Like any other workplace, compromise and the desire to serve the needs of the customer should be the primary objective.  Too bad we can’t put all of these government officials on a “performance improvement plan”.

Author: Bernie Dyme

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  • Jack Altschuler

    “It’s all about me.”

    Clearly, that is the operative statement of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Narcissism). He exemplifies not just the extremist position in Congress, but the extremist position in any venue, including the workplace.

    We’ve all worked with people who had to “win”. That includes making sure that others lose, regardless of the consequences for everyone else. They are a polarizing force that blocks teamwork and ensures sub-optimal results. The only good news about such people is that they tend to flame out rather quickly. Unfortunately, that does not happen on the time schedule most of us would like.

    Be clear, though, that in Congress the responsibility for dysfunction isn’t spread equally. Absent the extremists, we wouldn’t be stagnating as we are and there would be no shutdown, nor threat of debt default.

    It’s the same way in the workplace. Remove the extremists and everything gets better. That’s the job of the leader.

    For example, sometimes a top performing sales person creates havoc every time s/he enters the office. It’s easy for the leader to tolerate that behavior because of the troublemaker’s sales productivity. And it’s a huge mistake.

    We can’t fire our extremist legislators until the next election cycle. That is when we Americans need to weed out the bad actors. In the workplace there is no election cycle, so leaders can take action when it is appropriate.

    Are you a leader? Everyone else is counting on you to do the right thing.

  • Colleen O'Brien

    It might be helpful if there was a personal incentive for the Senate and the House to agree on the budget. Even though many of the 2 million government workers are affected (potentially financially) by the shut down, there is no direct consequence to the government officials who are responsible for passing the budget. Australia had a shut down once in 1975 and it led to all members of parliament losing their jobs. Hasn’t happened again since. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/01/australia-had-a-government-shutdown-once-it-ended-with-the-queen-firing-everyone-in-parliament/

  • Glenn Luedtke

    It appears to me that the politicians create a crisis, grab as much press as possible then pat themselves when they “solve” the problem.

  • Bhavsangeet

    Hi Erika, Sorry, we just had our last workshop for this year yesdartey! Yes, I will put you on our monthly email list. The downtown course is likely to be Thursdays starting January 27.Cheers, hope you meet you in class sometime. Suvanna