Leadership Skills: Why Unity is Plural

A certain phrase has been constantly on my mind this week. Like many of my favorite sayings, this one belongs to the late Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller, earth’s gentle genius:

“Unity is plural and at minimum two.” This is a universal principle, true in all cases, which means it is powerful if you understand it and apply it!

What Bucky meant, I think, is that every system in universe is composed of other systems. Even an atom is composed of parts, which are composed of parts, which are composed of parts…

About the “minimum two” part, Bucky often wrote that there is no concave without convex, no system inside without outside, and no self without otherness. So two is the minimum requirement for unity.

I teach this phrase to people in organizations that are learning to partner with other organizations to improve quality or productivity, drive a technology beyond its quoted specifications, or manage a value chain.

One of the success secrets for partnering is that you and your partner both view (and jointly manage) the larger system comprised of your two entities instead of viewing and managing only what’s inside your own boundaries. You each seek to optimize the larger system, thus increasing the rewards available to your two subsystems.

So what does this have to do with your Leadership Gift?

First, you needn’t — in fact you can’t — give up your individuality in order to be a member of a team. Diversity is the nature of wholeness.

Second, you can’t experience integrity without challenge, whether it is the internal challenge to integrate what you say and what you do, or the relationship challenge to create with — and protect the interests of — others who are different than you.

Third, your opportunity is limited only by the extent to which you intend to be of value to the world. The larger the “game” you define for yourself, the more opportunity there is for you to be and to do your “part.”

Fourth, every thought, talent, and voice are important no matter what you have been taught to think. There can be no useless parts.

Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Stretch

Reflect on how many “wholes” you are — or have been — a part of. How different would they be without you and your voice?

Now, imagine the greatest opportunity possible for you. What does that “whole thing” look, sound, and feel like? What are some other parts. How do they fit together? What steps can you take to create it?

“Unity is plural and at minimum two.” What does it mean to you?

Dialogue is a powerful tool for clarification! Post your comment or question about this blog posts in the comments. I wish you a world of productive relationships.

Leaders and coaches: Hone your unifying skills in the Leadership Gift Program. CEO’s desiring a culture of diverse unity may want to investigate the proven Managed Leadership Gift Adoption program.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Leadership on 09/03/2012 01:00 am
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