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  • Travis Jacob

The Strength of Differences

It’s not always easy to get along with the other members of your team. We all have different thoughts, different beliefs, different ideas of how something should be done, different interests, and different political parties (don’t shoot!). Having differences is not only natural, but it can, and should, be a major strength of your team. Unfortunately, the truth is that often times, because we’re just imperfect people, we allow our differences to divide us instead of strengthen us. This division destroys the culture of any team or organization.

I am a (proud) member of the Gen X generation and therefore a product of 80s heavy metal music. Yes, hair bands, glam rock, whatever you want to call it (I’m not ashamed). One of my favorite bands of that era is Stryper (again, not ashamed!). Michael Sweet is the lead singer of Stryper, but also does solo work and projects with George Lynch of the bands Dokken and Lynch Mob. These two are very different when it comes to belief systems. You normally wouldn’t think they would be able to work together. Sweet is a born again Christian, and Lynch, in his words, is a free thinking Atheist. Their beliefs could not be more opposite. In the music world it’s unheard of to see two guys so far apart in this manner working on a project together, but these guys do. Not only do they work together, but they have been very successful at it, releasing their first album in 2015 and set to release their second in November, 2017.

Michael Sweet recently posted the following message on his Facebook page: “George and I come from different backgrounds with different beliefs and different views as many of you know. We do however share the same passion for music and we also share a mutual respect for one another. We have a new album coming out on 11/10 called ‘Unified’ and I would like to think that the important point of this album is to show people, show the world that we can work together despite our differences. There is no productive point to being divided. Through love and respect we can unite and make something powerful and beautiful.”

When it comes to creating and maintaining a Winning Culture in an organization, we can learn a lot from these “old rockers.” They get it. We all have our differences, but at the same time, we all have our similarities, or things we can agree on. When we focus on the things we can agree on we start to become unified. In fact, it actually becomes natural to share mutual respect for your team members when you can acknowledge the fact that there are differences, yet keep the focus on the common goal or purpose through the things you do agree on. Add in the factors of genuine love and respect and you start to become even stronger as a team. At that point your team starts to produce at levels far beyond the expectations of the leaders of the organization. You become a force to be reckoned with, and who doesn’t want to be on a team like that?

Michael Sweet (left) and George Lynch (right)
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