Several times this week I was reminded of the power of the collective. Alone we can do great things, but together we can do so much more. The best leaders aren’t those who strive to be the smartest person in room; they are the ones who make connections, build relationships, and leverage the strengths of others to find the best next step.
On Christmas Eve there was quite a snowstorm here in Omaha. It was beautiful. Social media was filled with stunning pictures of our unexpected White Christmas. After almost 8 inches fell in my neighborhood, we all emerged to shovel the driveways in time to get out for our celebrations. I bundled up and turned up the playlist on my phone ready to dig in and get the work done. But I had to turn off the music. There were neighbors everywhere- two doors down, across the street- our block was filled with people chatting and waving and helping each other clear sidewalks.
Every time I got tired, someone new was there to say hello or wave at me from down the block. It energized me. I didn’t need my playlist because the neighborhood was making music of its own. It was such a fun collective experience. And together we did the work faster.
The day before I was in a meeting at work where I was again reminded that together we are better. Our superintendent was pushing a group of us to think about things in new and different ways. People were sharing unique perspectives. People were challenging conventional wisdom. People were offering creative ideas. It was one of those conversations about things at the 10,000 foot level that inspires you and makes you love your job. The issues we face are significant. The work we do is important. The answers to how best to move forward are complex. Individually we will not find the best solution, but together we will be better.
Technology has connected us in ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago. In the past, our professional network was limited to those people with whom we were in regular contact. Now we can connect with not only the other people in our district and our community, we can connect with people from all over the world.
Together we are better. As this year draws to a close, I encourage you to build new relationships and make new connections. Reach out to your neighbors. Stop in and talk to your co-workers. Follow educators and others on Twitter (find me @hcphipps).
Our collective experiences make the world a better place!