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Independence and Self-Reliance Are Myths

Interdependence  Photo by Elea C

"Interdependence" Photo by Elea C

We in the United States value independence. It’s in our cultural dogma:

  • “I did it my way”
  • “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps” (What the heck is a bootstrap?)
  • “I stand on my own two feet”

Who among us does anything without a contribution from someone else?

Take this blog post as an example.  Unless you set up the internet, whatever the connection is to your computer, wrote the browser or application that you’re reading this in, and telepathically got the information out of my brain…. the real question is how many people had a hand in your reading this blog post?

I bring this up because I help leaders to create inspired workplaces.  The easiest way to kill inspiration is through too much individualism.   When people feel that the only way they can win is to exclude the competition, collaboration gets killed in the process.  The staffs and managers end up spending their energy devising ways to one-up each other instead of producing value adds to goods and services.  I am not saying that the individual does not contribute and that merit should not be rewarded.  I am saying that collective wisdom is the competitive edge, and inspired workplaces have it because they foster interdependence.

Today, I invite you to examine the idea of independence.  What does it mean in a knowledge-based economy?

Be Your Best You Today,


p.s. – Even the best of workplaces have become less inspired.  Too much watching the news and worrrying.  If your organization would like some education and entertainment, I’d be honored to speak at your next team meeting or lunch and learn.  Email me today.

p.p.s – Thanks to new friend on Linked In, Raul, who reminded me that I needed to write about this. If you’ve not invited me to join your professional network on Linked In, I invite you to invite me.  I accept all invitations, because a stranger is a friend I haven’t met yet!

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