In the history of the US, the connection of the east and west coasts via the Transcontinental Railroad had a profound impact upon the country.
Surprisingly, the railroad was started in 1862 during the Civil War. President Lincoln and Congress understood both the symbolism of connecting the country and also the need to think long term, even while the country fought within itself. The railroad removed geographic barriers, spread ideas, and introduced a new way of life – a fresh start that was badly needed.
Building a railroad symbolically within a team can mean bridging together two divergent points of view, bringing new insight into a situation. By linking the ‘east’ and the ‘west’, a whole new world of ideas can be developed.
Action Step: When ideas diverge, work with team members to set a new long-term goal that can be the connecting link helping to overcome differences.
- Do we have any divergent points of view that need to come together?
- How can we solicit outside (and potentially contrary) points of view so that we can stretch and grow?
- How can we disagree with each other while still treating each other with dignity and respect?
- Are there time when we need an outside perspective to help us bring divergent ideas together? If so, who can play that role?