Working together is essential to the success of any team. As the saying goes, “[t]here is no “I” in team.” However, there is a “me,” and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Here’s why….

Groupthink sinks ships. 

It sank the Titanic and it certainly will sink you and those around you if you are too afraid to speak up. 

Groupthink is the downfall to any team. It occurs when the individual team members give themselves over too fully to the organization and forget their individualism completely.

Imagine a locomotive chugging towards a broken bridge. Each individual component of the machine works in brilliant synchrony and gains momentum with each rotation of the wheels. The unfortunate irony is that this very perfectionism of its operation is what blinds it from the impending peril of being sent hurtling over the edge to great failure and death. 

That never happens, though, because the conductor, the sole voice or reason, yells “danger,” pulls the brake, and brings the train to a halt just shy of catastrophe and oblivion. Thus, the conductor demonstrates in this metaphor just how powerful and impactful the One Voice can be. 

We should all strive to be like the conductor in our lives. Be that one person in any board room, government body, community, team, or family that is not afraid to stand up and challenge the groupthink that is leading the group over the edge.

Being the One Voice takes guts.

It requires a greatness born of selflessness. Being the One Voice means you have no agenda other than to stand up for what you believe is right no matter the personal cost.

Even though you feel that your cause is righteous, family, spouses, friends, colleagues, and teammates will look at you aghast as if you had five heads. Or they will try to quiet you. Most will be well-intentioned and approach you with compassion and care trying to talk you “down off the ledge” and pleading with you to “not rock the boat.” 

When this happens, fear not.

You are not taking crazy pills.

You are heading in the right direction.

Keep going. 

As a fair warning, though, groupthink will not give up easily and will persist in its efforts to stifle you or persuade your silence. Seeing that you are unperterbed by their initial pleas to conform, that same circle of family and friends will persist and say, “It’s not your fight,” or “that’ll be career suicide,” or (the worst of them all) “you should live to fight another day.” 

Those are the words of people who are uncomfortable standing out in a crowd. They need to be part of the machine, any machine, because the thought of standing alone in the storm of life is untenable. 

Don’t misunderstand me, being a team player is absolutely essential for success in life. However, in order for you to be the best player on the team, you must be able to stand on your own and in your own right. As the saying goes, a team is only strongest at its weakest link.

I am also not advocating for a monastic life of waiving the banner of individualism by simply being a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian. Being the One Voice must have a purpose that is tied to the greater good of humanity. 

That being said, being the One Voice can be a lonely journey at times. But don’t lose heart! Remember, you never are truly alone. You have God and a long line of “One Voices” that precede you to inspire you onwards.

To name a few:

Jesus

Moses

Joan of Arc

Rosa Park

Winston Churchill

Gandhi

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Nelson Mandela 

Harvey Milk

Aung San Suu Kyi (former democratic president of Myanmar) 

Masih Alinejad (Iranian female journalist and target of multiple assassination attempts)

Cassidy Hutchinson

Muhammad Ali

Sandy Koufax

Colin Kaepernick…

Be not afraid to be the One Voice above the din. You owe it to yourself and to those you care about most. 

Keep being amazing, 

Kevin & Carolyn

 

 

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Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Kevin SnyderKevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He's all about family and passionate about estate planning, elder law, and veterans. He founded Snyder Law to help people be prepared and have the peace of mind they are protecting their families and aging parents for when life happens.

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