Noah’s Arc Lessons, Part 2

2.  We are all on the same boat.

If we are to question the status quo, and we are to encourage creativity, then we must work together.  Boats generally have tight quarters.  There is no room for ego on the boat—it is already small enough.

We must have a sense of humility to drive an initiative—I mean boat.  One person does not know everything.  An effective team is made by many people joining together their unique skills.  I might be able to navigate, but I am lousy at operating an engine.  But the person responsible for the engine can’t meddle in my navigating duties, or I will never be able to guide the ship.  If we traded jobs the ship would sail without a purpose, eventually breaking down because I have no idea how to operate an engine.

If the engineer says there is a problem and makes a suggestion for how I, as the navigator, can help, then it is my responsibility to listen.  Maybe by slightly altering the course the engine can work more effectively and the boat will reach its destination more smoothly.  We work together with shared knowledge on fixing the issue.  If we wander and drift, our boat will never reach its destination.  Only by working together as a communicative team can we locate the destination.

We do not have the luxury to judge one another.  It is one thing to have a critical eye on a process, but it is another to judge a person working diligently on implementation.  If we abuse that critical eye as soon as we board, the boat will never leave the shore.  But if together we assess and move forward, as a cohesive group, the boat will launch with everyone manning their individual posts.  At the end of a long day at sea we unite to understand each other’s successes and challenges.

When we take a risk on a creative idea, the funder must defer to the provider for their expertise on the issue.  But the provider should also listen to information the funder has—information they’ve learned from other communities, or other risks they’ve taken.  If the program is having a problem, the provider needs to be able to speak candidly with the funder.  Together they may be able to solve the problem, or discover a new and innovative solution.  The funder may have the ability to think about the big picture and bring in other stakeholders that can amplify the work of one provider.  The stakeholders can learn from each other’s unique knowledge about an issue.

The captain leads the team, but he does not do everyone’s job.  He must rely on his crew for their expertise and ability.  He gives everyone the tools they need to be successful in their individual roles.  But like the navigator and engineer, he can only be successful in his role if they are successful in theirs.  He cannot captain the ship if he is also down below deck meddling with the engineer and simultaneously telling the navigator how to read the maps.

Each person on board cares about making a safe and effective journey.  Trust that everyone on the boat has the same goal of reaching the port.

Lesson 3 is on it’s way…

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