Building a Consensus on Projects and in The Primaries
On a recent business trip to California, I had the opportunity to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley. There I learned much about the man and the mission that he was on as president in the 1980s, and also had an opportunity to get my picture taken at the entrance of Air Force One.
Now on the eve of the New York State presidential primary voting, tomorrow April 19, I think about how we are again at a point where our collective voices and energies go into selecting the standard bearers for our political parties.
Mixing in business with this political thinking, it makes me marvel at the way in which our country and our industries are able to gather disparate voices and many different points of view. For over 200 years as Americans we have been able to rally around a candidate and bring order to the chaos that is the campaign season. In my work world I watch similar decision-making and consensus-building that involves pulling together people with different experiences, perspectives, and objectives in order to find common ground to move whole organizations forward.
We at Optimation see that on a project-by-project basis, and are fortunate in many cases over a long period of time to work with satisfied, long-term clients. Being able to pull together a common vision, develop a plan to enable and realize that vision, is a skill that many possess but few excel at. Those who are good at articulating a compelling vision, having a positive and clear plan most often end up being successful, and establish sustainable organizations with meaningful purpose.
This political season seems to be particularly raucous, and potentially divisive. It will be a true tribute to our system of government and our people if the winning candidate in November is able to coalesce all of these visions, voices, and constituencies into a coherent and enthusiastic path forward.
I know that in my working world, very few people would choose to work on a project that entails a number of bad choices and have to choose from the lesser of several evils. Politically, that’s the way a lot of people view our current condition. Professionally, and hopefully in our voting activities, we seek something that aligns with our values, our goals, and our principles. This is often obscured by messaging and noise. Our job as business and technical people as well as voters is to sift through all that, to align as best we can, and do as much as we are able and willing in order to see it through to the best possible outcome. As I say in my work purpose, to solve important problems.
If you’re a New Yorker like me I hope you’ll vote if you’re registered in a party. If you live and work in another state and you’ve already voted or will be soon voting, then I hope your person wins. But if not I expect that you will support the winner and participate in making the country a success. And apply this thinking of identifying key matters, develop a vision, align with like-minded people, and get to work on solving those problems that matter most.