Bringing Different Perspectives Together for the Greater Good

How we look at the world will never be complete. Individuals can only see a fragmented view, based on a very limited scope of the world, based on our own experiences.

I have never experienced poverty, although it exists.
I have never been the target of racism, but it’s a real threat for many.
I have never been a man, because I was born a woman.
I have never been homeless, but there are people who need shelter.
I have never been a politician, a news reporter, a millionaire.
I have never been abused, neglected, arrested, or evicted.

My tender heart has become stronger as I have learned how ugly the world can be, even when your heart is in the right place. Even when you have the facts to support your beliefs, or an opinion that contradicts what others are saying, your expertise can only be based on the realities you’ve lived yourself, or the data that is gathered from others, who also can only report based on the realities they have lived themselves.

It’s a flawed system, because we are all flawed humans.

There’s an ongoing struggle in my heart, and maybe in the hearts of others. The conflict that challenges me the most in the work I do, is between the Status Quo and the Greater Good.

The Greater Good

The Greater Good endeavors to see beyond the world as we know it. To see things that “Could be” and address more than just one group, category or sector of the population in every consideration. This requires that we take off our myopic lens, and try to see beyond our own scope and limited interpretation. It requires that we do not accept our understanding of the world as absolute.

This is where consensus comes in. Not one person’s view, but a diverse and possibly opposing group of people, coming together to find a way forward, for the greater good.

Egos must be checked at the door, and an understanding that we’re not here for ourselves, or for what might be best for me (or those that I represent), but for what might be best —  or as close to best for the most — and especially for widest reach.

The Status Quo

The Status Quo doesn’t always consider themselves as the status quo, which makes it harder to acknowledge, and more challenging to overcome. What we might see as a conversation about “what is best for all” actually is “what is best for me, or for those I am defending or protecting.

What we fail to recognize most of the time is that we’re basing our desire to keep things as they are, solely on our own experiences, ignoring, or disregarding that there are other players, other needs to be met and a bigger picture than just our slice of the world.

We defend our position when we’re feeling that a change might usurp all of the work we’re doing, or have done, or are planning to do.

How do we find a way forward, when there are conflicting agendas and opposing views? How do we balance power, with what’s best for everyone, including the powerful? Does “leadership” require that we place our agendas to the side and work to raise the bar? Or, could it be that our role as leaders is to see and hear others, do our share of the work, and together, find a way to be the bar?

Being the Bar

Being the bar, means walking the walk. It means leading from within, and throughout. Not standing in the front, or behind, not looking on from the sidelines, not keeping our ideas separate, but bringing our knowledge and experience, and perspectives into one place. But, most of all, it means realizing, and admitting that, even as experts, as people who have the means to achieve what we need, for our business, or organization, we’re still on the hook as a member of the community — and we’re all working for the same goals.

An individual wants a family, a family wants a neighborhood, a neighborhood wants good schools, good schools want good businesses, good businesses want good communities, good communities want good leaders, and good leaders want good individuals.

Top down doesn’t work as well as it used to, and we’re all still getting familiar with the new rules of engagement. But there’s one thing that will never change — being part of a community isn’t just for people with a title.

In the past, raising the bar was all we talked about. And, that job fell on the shoulders of the people with the titles, power, influence and leadership.

Today, being the bar means we’re all in this together. Creating the future, painting the vision and then, staying in the game to achieve the greatness we all believe is within our reach. It is not just in some of us, it really is in — and up to — all of us. We simply need to make the effort to see from beyond our own experiences.

Also published on Medium.

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