Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AFLV LeaderShape: Day 2 by Reid Palmer

The Value of One, the Power of All
In any group activity there will always be different individuals who make different contributions.  However, the success of that group is a shared accomplishment, a shared achievement, since everyone’s individual role was integral to that success.

Maximizing individual achievement for group success is invariably a job that is tasked to the leader of the group.  How you become an effective leader is not innate: it is not either you can, or cannot.  Like virtually everything else in life being a leader is something you must learn to be and a role you yourself must grow into to be comfortable.  LeaderShape is a vehicle for learning these skills, and doing the kind of self-discovery required to becoming a leader. Today, on day 2 of the AFLV LeaderShape we challenged ourselves to learn the value of one, the power of all.

The value of one, the power of all plays out in many areas for those of us not lucky enough to be Greek.  My best experience with this idea and where I learned its true meaning was on the football field.  Although we love fantasy football and individual accomplishments, football remains the ultimate team sport.  Granted it is one individual who crosses the goal line for a touchdown: the value of one, but it is the rest of the team on the field that made that play and the whole team gets six points: the power of all.  What most causal viewers of the game don’t often realize is what went into making that play a success.  All of the coaches designing plays, the players working hard in practice to give those starting players a “good look” all contribute, all week to success on game day.  Each individual did their part: the value of one, and collectively everyone celebrates: the power of all.

Today at LeaderShape to learn this valuable lesson we addressed in many facets.  To start the day we were grouped into our own small teams and put through some physical challenges to begin to learn the value of one, the power of all.  Through various challenges this short sentence began to ring true again and again.  In each challenged we faced there was an individual, at times many, at times maybe too many who lead the group with an idea or plan.  These individuals were adding their value to the group, and each individual contribution was unique in its own way, they all added up to the group being successful in our task.  Eyes began to open as the words we spoke of after breakfast started to become more than words, but more of a way of how we are going to be leading our respective organizations.  Each individual made a valuable contribution and in turn made our group more powerful.

To delve deeper into understanding we spent the most of the rest of the afternoon learning more about ourselves and others.  Of course there is no understanding others without first understanding ourselves.  Understanding where we come from, our tendencies, and strengths, and then learning that not everyone has those same tendencies and behaviors was the basic framework we started with to expand our knowledge.  Learning that others have different strengths from us, allow us as leaders, to put them in a role that is going to suit them best, not just assuming they can do all we can do.  This is getting the value out of one, or each individual.

A long and necessary session and discussion on our basis, our prejudices, and our move to discriminate was how we wrapped this evening.  Moments of reflection and examination brought realizations that we are each unique with individual identities, multiple identities.  Our identities intersect at many places, and these points of intersection are how we make connections from our groups and grow our communities.  We celebrated the value of each individual and learned that by doing this we strengthen our organizations, become better leaders, and we tap into that power of all.
I learned the lessons of the value of one, the power of all through a different organization other than Greek.  However, whether you are Greek or not this lesson is one that leaders of their organizations in school will take with them to graduation and beyond, and when we are leaders of organizations, businesses, schools, colleges, or any group we will draw on the lessons learned today at LeaderShape: the value of one, the power of all.

Reid Palmer
Metropolitan State College of Denver

No comments: