Together we can achieve what none of us can accomplish alone

Without a community, it is nearly impossible to achieve voice: it takes a village to raise a Rosa Parks. Without a community, it is nearly impossible to exercise the “power of one” in a manner that multiplies: it took a village to translate Park’s act of personal integrity into social change. In a mass society like ours, community rarely comes ready-made. But creating community in the places where we live and work does not mean abandoning other parts of our lives to become full-time organizers. The steady companionship of two or three kindred spirits can kindle the courage we need to speak and act as citizens. —Parker Palmer

Resilient people understand that sustaining a commitment to significant change requires the support, guidance, and inspiration of a community.

But not all groups are created equal in their resilience and effectiveness.

Groups that make a difference:

• have skillful, committed leaders who maintain focus and momentum over time,

• ensure that group time is used productively to achieve the group’s goals,

• have a stable core membership,

• engage in high-impact activities,

• follow through on plans with accountability for results, and

• train group members to successfully complete agreed upon activities.

In schools such collective work requires strong teamwork which can take a variety of forms.

In the area of social justice and political change the group RESULTS sets the standard for grass roots advocacy. Its purpose is to end poverty by “improving access to education, health, and economic opportunity” through advocacy and education of policy makers.

More recently “Indivisible” groups are forming and beginning to take action in many communities throughout the United States. Their purpose is to create local pressure on members of Congress to counter the most destructive policies and actions of the new administration, and even at this early date it appears that they are beginning to have some success.

Indivisible’s advocacy is based “…on a simple idea: Donald Trump’s agenda doesn’t depend on Donald Trump. It depends on your elected members of Congress and whether they go along with him—or whether they fight back.”

If any or all of these approaches are appealing, I encourage you to get involved.

Remember:

• that demagogues win when citizens feel overwhelmed and become resigned to the status quo, and

• that together we can achieve what none of us can accomplish alone.

2 Responses to “Together we can achieve what none of us can accomplish alone”


  1. 1 rickrepicky February 15, 2017 at 8:55 am

    So many ways to react to this post, Dennis. I’ll choose schools in honor of DuFour and your work with NSDC. Skillful developing school communities/teams requires that the faculty sees they can gain autonomy, mastery & purpose best by working together within a structure. This is a challenge. In looking at your article referenced above, “Teamwork Matters,” you list four key characteristics of teamwork: “Clarity of purpose, accountability, effective team structures, and trust.” These may seem obvious, but leaders must consciously address these traits if teams are to be successful.

    • 2 Dennis Sparks February 15, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      I agree, Rick. Creating a culture of continuous improvement that includes strong teamwork requires leaders who are intentional and who persevere. As always, I appreciate your comment.


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