Sunday, August 07, 2005

Are we playing together well in South Carolina? What do you think?

All the rage in South Carolina is better collaboration. To make progress we need to get over the historical issues that keep us apart. The Lowcountry, the Midlands, the Pee Dee and the Upstate need to get along better. Clemson and USC need to keep their fighting to athletics. Blacks and whites need to work together better. Women need real opportunities at leadership.

Some days I’m excited that we're doing better than we ever have. We had an outstanding InnoVenture planning meeting a week ago.

Then I get slapped by the parochialism that has always held us back. The Greenville News reports that Cliff Rosen has sued BMW over Clemson ICAR. The State reports that some business leaders are getting frustrated with the Governor because they don’t think he works well with the legislature.

I’d really like to know what you think. Leave a comment below.

Are we really playing together well in South Carolina, or are we just giving it lip service?


Anonymous said...

I feel the same urgency as you do about getting this State to collaborate in every way possible from business investment to education. But clearly we are failing as a state amidst the culture and attitude that surrounds us. First we are distracted, stressed, and unwilling to stop and focus. Second we are working against each other thinking that one's gain is the other's loss. That is parochial. Third, we have got to rid ourselves of the cultural struggle mentality here. There is a feeling of lack, of loss that seems pervade our belief systems. Until the internal conflict is resolved, we cannot succeed. How is this done? We need to advertise our position as a state amongst the others in this nation. Let's be frank. Our poverty level, our relative income levels, our education levels are all basic facts to publicize to wake up the population to our relatively low quality of life. We are actually loosing real value in our lives every day, just living here. In order to better each and every person's position we need strategies that seek increases that are spread amongst us, not focused on the benefit of a few key groups. Greed seems to have control and conflict and struggle are our habit patterns. This state is full of good workers and great natural resources. Let's change. We need to find leaders who have experience in change management.

Anonymous said...

Fifteen years ago, SC was a national leader in economic development. Now we are clearly behind. I just saw a presentation about the regional development groups in the state - and the main focus was on which regional group has the most staff and the largest operating budget. I couldn't believe that the focus was on which regional group is getting the biggest. For a state that has it's technology economic development effort together - check out TEDCO in Maryland.

Anonymous said...

As one of many in this community that travels the nation - and sometimes the world, I am constantly confused at the amount of disdain between the different sections of our fairly small state. I will never forget participating in a Columbia business leaders meeting on the topic of education. To my surprise, there was never the conversation about how to bring every part of our state's education systems up to snuff. Instead, it was using stats that excluded the lower performing areas to show how the Columbia area performs better than the Upstate or Low Country. We have at least two groups competitively against each other on biotech, and most likely several other examples could be stated. We have a great state, and we really need to work together as one state, not three or more areas within the state.

Jane Allen, CEO - Smart Work | Network said...

Before SC people can begin to work collaboratively, they must truly understand the concept. Collaboration doesn't mean that everybody agrees; it means that every person believes what they believe...and that's okay...and every other person has the same right. The real test of collaboration is the concept of what Stephen Covey called, "Abundance Mentality" vs. a Scarcity mentality". These two concepts are at opposing ends of the "relationship" spectrum. In order to collaborate, one has to believe that the individuals with whom they desire to collaborate have as much right to a particular opinion as they do. Believing it and practicing it are two different things. The practice of dialogue (conversations that have meaning, purpose and emotion) requires that individuals learn the skill of active listening and then reflecting what others say, such that the other feels truly understood. This is the most needed skill in today's global environment...and is absolutely critical for those who truly desire to collaborate. Without the desire to truly understand the other... and consistent practice of the skill...collaboration is nearly impossible, no matter the topic. Sadly, after 20 years in SC offering Leadership and Communication training in these very skills, there are only a handful of leaders who've truly been willing to take the time to learn and practice the skills themselves or to insist their managers and employees develop these skills. Until that happens at the personal level, organizations and states don't have a chance of staying in the dialogue with those who disagree. The One-Minute business guru, Ken Blanchard said: Our lives succeed or fail gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can. The conversation is the relationship."
For SC to grow the way it must to remain competitive...fierce and ongoing conversations must occur, until the last person who wants one, gets a job, and is given the opportunity to succeed in that job to their fullest potential!