Cooperation

You are not the only person with good ideas.  If you wish to be heard, listen.  Always seek to find the best way rather than your way.  Cooperation allows individuals to move forward together, to move in the same direction instead of going off in different directions.~Coach John Wooden

This is especially true in community work.  I’ve seen this go badly.  A group of highly motivated people get together over an important community issue.  Everyone has ideas; everyone has passion.  The newly formed group is riding on the energy of different perspectives gathering to tackle a big problem.  And then… “elements” of group dynamics come into play.  One of these elements is ingroup speech–a code to speed and ease communication between group members.  The good news is that ingroup speech magnifies the commonalities and creates group cohesion.  The challenges are that it decreases flexibility and openness.  As a result, ingroup speech handicaps any newcomer.  If your group, like our group, has inconsistent attendance, this creates a feeling of disconnectedness.  The core group becomes more insular, limiting cooperation and good listening.  The occasional attendees lose heart. 

Back in the early ’80s, I was an undergraduate in Communication at UMass/Amherst.  I took a class in Small Group Communication, and we used the text Small Group Communication: A Reader.  Our professor created small groups for us to work in so that we could experience what we were studying.  I remember many meetings at the Newman Center on the edge of campus.  The class made a real impression on me.  Must’ve, because I am remembering it 30 years later and I still have my textbook.

In fact, several chapters in the book are marked up with my 21 yr old handwriting!  After I get through my John Wooden tips, I plan on delving into my Small Group Communication tips. 

Oh, yeah…and Go Minutemen!  First round in the NIT is tonight.

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