A number of years ago, I attended a training course entitled LET (Leader Effectiveness Training). In one of the break out work sessions, the trainer divided the class into eight groups of five or six individuals. Each group was presented with the same problem to come up with a solution. There were no right or wrong solutions to the problem which could be answered in several different ways. The group with the best solution would get a prize for every member on the team (as I recall it was an ice scraper for your car window). We had 15 minutes to work on the problem and there would be a reminder at 14 minutes that we had one minute left to finish the assignment.

The groups took the assignment seriously and worked to complete the assignment in the time allotted. After the one minute time remaining announcement, I could hear some members in different groups getting rather vocal in trying to convince members of their group why their ideas were the best.

Nobody won the competition since none of the groups completely finished the assignment. Several members in each group had their own ideas of what was the best solution to the problem and spent the time arguing the merits their ideas.

After 30 years, I still remember that training course and the insights and lesson learned about human behavior: 1. Everyone wants to win even when the prize is of little value (for Pete’s sake, an ice scraper of all things). 2. No one wins when everyone is only concerned about their own agenda and other people’s ideas and thoughts are ignored and not considered worthy of consideration. 3. Best results are achieved when everyone works together for the common good.

The same human interactions I observed in the LET class over 30 years ago is the same interactions I see in our sharply divided nation today. The two political parties are at “loggerheads” with each other. There seems to be no compromise with each other and very little useful work gets accomplished. No one wins in such a situation.

My hope is that we all take an honest look at our human nature and strive to respect other people and their thoughts and ideas so things can get accomplished for the common good of all of us.

 

William Renn, 

Sunbury 

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