What Makes a ‘WE?’

Accountability Collaboration Teamwork


Key Point: The word “SILOS” sucks the energy out of me. I don’t know when it replaced “communication” as the default word for all that’s wrong in organizations? But it seems to be the reason people use to explain why many problems exist. What bugs me more is that if we know living exclusively in silos restricts organization flow and hurts results, why do we have such a hard time getting past this “silo hell?” Well maybe it’s because we are not skilled or practiced at developing the WE that’s necessary in crossing the chasm? Maybe looking after number one, is easier or better? Or maybe we just don’t know how to make it so?

However, as research demonstrates, and Ben/Rosamund Zander explain in their wonderful book, The Art of Possibility, something enormously creative and possible happens when we focus on US or WE as an entity. Rather than compromising on finding something between you and me, something magical happens when we create and focus on the new persona of WE.

This concept is much bolder than finding common ground between you and me. It involves a deep inquiry into what’s best for US. What if we all had this philosophy in organizations? I think we would reinvent business and organization effectiveness. Why? Because stakeholders and customers rarely care about what just you or me are able to do on our own (or departments for that matter). However, they are deeply impacted by the output of the “WE.”

Character Move:

  1. Develop a WE story; the possibility that comes out of focusing on WE as a unique entity. This can apply in the workplace and your family.
  2. Like the Zanders’ suggest in their book, “listen and look for the new, emerging entity.” It is a greater sum than you and I.
  3. Ask what the WE wants to have happen? What’s best for US?
  4. Identify the next steps best for the evolved entity that becomes the “WE” and progress is made.
  5. Celebrate milestones that belong to the “WE” versus you or me…. And breakthrough happens.

WE in the Triangle,