4 Actions to Collaborate instead of Polarize

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriesChange Readiness, Comfort zone, Leadership Development, Team Member Engagement

Most Iowa Hawkeye Football fans remember who won the previous 10 Iowa Vs. Iowa State football games.  Most of these same fans also cheer loudly for the Cyclones when they pIay other teams.  I have many close friends who are Iowa State graduates.  I brag about ISU’s Engineering and Vet schools. Still, as a loyal Hawkeye, I REALLY want to win that preseason game.  There is just something about the energy fans feel when playing a rival. 

If you want to grasp the depth of rivalries, take a look at this Sports Center commercial!

While it can be energizing and so much fun, this Seinfeld skit communicates how these heightened emotions, can also cause us to label people and de-humanize each other. 

We need to be aware of our thoughts and actions, because once we de-humanize others, scary things can happen:

  • Hatfields and McCoys
  • Jet vs. Sharks (Westside Story)
  • Capulets vs. Montagues (Romeo & Juliet)
  • North vs. South
  • Left vs. Right
  • Germans vs. “Un-Germans”

Polarization can cause Blind Obedience.  We stop seeing, thinking, and FEELING for ourselves.  We dismiss ideas different from our own.  Unskilled leaders throughout history have researched polarization and used it to control people.  Joseph Goebbel’s ‘Cleansing of the German Spirit’ propaganda was planned based on our human nature. 

If we choose, instead, to collaborate, we can achieve more than we think is possible.  Just look at some of the amazing stories of collaboration!

  • The Apollo 11 Moon Landing
  • The United States Constitution
  • The Beatles
  • Miracle on Ice
  • Marvel Comics
  • The Wright Brothers
  • The International Space Station

Because we want to be good people who think for ourselves, here are FOUR actions we can take to improve collaboration and resist polarization.

  1. KNOW you belong. 
  2. BE grateful.
  3. Really get to know the people you don’t like.
  4. Consistently face your fears.

Over the next month, I will briefly dig deeper into one action per week.

What do you want to achieve and how will collaboration help you get there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *