Posts Tagged ‘team’

Looking for what I was going to wear today, it finally dawned on me that my color choices for garments have been quite predictable for a while. My closet is full of black and white: some garments are white, many are black, but most of them are black AND white, with no grey per se. This provided an unexpected and unconventional confirmation that I am irresistibly attracted to the power of combining contrasting colors: preserving their individual nature, side by side, each enhancing the other’s unique beauty…. head-on collision of black and white, rather than subtle dispersion of white and black particles resulting in shades of grey. Vive la difference!

Nature presents plenty of examples of breathtaking new beauty created through the joining of independent and contrasting entities: mountain meeting sea, tall cliffs towering above sandy desert, sun rays breaking though shaded woods… A smaller miracle, yet ever mesmerizing to me, is the dance of light sparkles on the water’s surface, everyone of them riding on the crest of a wave: the result of sun, wind, and water, all preserving their own nature, yet joining together to create an amazing new effect.   This meaningful realization came while I was rowing my boat early in the morning, an activity meant to fully engage and enhance my physical abilities, but which turned out to be my most effective time for creative professional thinking – another testament to the power of jointly celebrating opposites. There are no sparkles without ruffles!

When it comes to new ideas, I believe the most innovative will be the result of creative tensions. A way to create such tension is to bring to the table people who hold different or even completely opposite points of view. In our quest for “civility,” we strive for consensus way too often. We usually get only one side of the story every time we choose to get our information from a particular journal, magazine, radio or TV channel. The side might be clear, yet many times it is skillfully disguised as the unbiased view. By a priori choosing sides it is easy to make our mind up about everything before we have a chance to examine all angles. There is another way. Just as I love my black and white, not separated or blended together, but together side by side, I personally rejoice and find it refreshing that even after all these years of watching the McLaughlin Group, they still openly battle on every subject. What a wonderful opportunity to hear both sides at the same time! Of course, this type of information gathering requires the spectator to diligently exercise listening (really “hearing” the other side!) and judgment skills to sort it all out (the “truth”?) and to make up his/her own mind.

Will Obama succeed in the similar challenge which his new team is likely to present him with? Many of us have noticed with satisfaction the surprisingly wide – and bona fide – diversity of his new team.  Besides what meets the eye, the visual indications of different race, gender, age, or ethnicity, lays the deeper, and I believe more meaningful, the diversity of thought of his team (see a slide show of Obama’s team on FT.com)

Obama has picked not only people who hold vastly different points of view, including some people with whom he has openly disagreed or competed with previously, but also the kind of people who are not shy in expressing their opinions. It is interesting to watch the dynamics of his public interactions with Hillary evolve in the picture gallery below (selected from the AP 2008 pictures) to the current “shoulder-to-shoulder” stance… Obama’s willingness to get a diversity of inputs from his inner circle, as well as casting his net for ideas as widely as possible  is important, and for all intents and purposes, it’s an innovative way to govern! The economic crisis magnifies the hopes and expectations from the new administration to an extent that I personally think is not humanly possible to satisfy. But at least Obama has set the stage to get diverse and intelligent opinions.  Only time will tell if he will be able to facilitate channeling such opinionated tensions into something great. We should all root for that. 


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