Friday, October 11, 2013

Collaboration, Expertise, and Compromise

Anyone who knows me knows two things about me:
  1. I am a team player. I like to bring people together, bat around ideas, present evidence, sometimes disagree vehemently, and then make decisions and plans based on facts.
  2. I respect the fact that people have different backgrounds, education, and expertise, and I purposely search out the opinions of those who are experts on various topics and who have actually experienced various situations when formulating my own thoughts.
Watching Congress the past few weeks and then participating in a meeting recently, where people I consider experts were feeling completely disenfranchised, have brought the two beliefs I listed above to the forefront of my thinking today.

Our world has become too complicated for individuals to claim expertise and make decisions based on "what's best" for the rest of us. Therefore, we owe it to the world to do the following:
  1. We must all speak up, even when it's uncomfortable.
  2. We must all actively listen to one another, even when we'd rather argue or remain removed from the situation.
  3. We must all be open to changing our minds, to the point of admitting when we're wrong.
  4. And finally, we must all realize that compromising and reaching consensus is not only possible but necessary under many circumstances when we hold conflicting views. It's not giving up to compromise. It's the reality of living in a free society.
These are skills we must practice as adults and model for our students. These are skills our students must be taught, because they will need them in our complicated world.

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