Category Archives: Welcome

Baby Boomers: Time to listen more, talk less

This was the headline at NPR.org, 4 days before the election: “Polarization And A Lack Of Productivity Are Likely To Reign After Election Day”. The article stated that, “with no clear mandate likely coming out of 2016, there is little reason to be overly optimistic that the next Congress can escape the cycle of unproductivity and polarization that has gripped Washington in recent years.”

I can’t say for sure exactly how we got here, but I have noticed that as the Baby Boom generation assumed more and more control of the direction of our country, we have become increasingly polarized as a nation. Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. The Boomers emerged on the scene in the 60s and 70s and from the get-go, part of their generational personality has been to divide the world into “us and them”.  You’re either Democrat or Republican. Liberal or Conservative. Pro-life or Pro-choice. You’re expected to choose a side and then dig in and fight, believing that if you shout loud enough and long enough and carry lots of big signs, eventually the folks on the other side will magically change over to your way of thinking. Because after all, we’re “right” and they’re “wrong”. Compromise? That’s seen as a weakness.

Full disclosure: I’m a Baby Boomer myself. I hate to say it, but I’ve actually become embarrassed by my own generation. As a group, we’re really not very good at trying to understand people who see and experience things differently than we do. The Trump & Hillary campaign made that even more painfully obvious. It’s no wonder that, together, we have elected a completely dysfunctional congress—and the result has been gridlock. There are signs that members of the younger generations, particularly the Millennials, haven’t learned to think in such a polarized way.  My hope is that as more Millennials and Xers gain influence, a more collaborative approach will emerge. Until that plays out, there is little evidence to suggest that things will improve.

But nlisten-moreow that the campaign circus has finally left town, we all have a choice to make: we can go even deeper into our corners and fight even harder with each other, or we can go out of our way to really listen to the people who appear to think so differently than we do, to try to understand why they have come to feel that way, and to seek constructive, inclusive solutions. Doubling down and fighting even harder won’t accomplish anything more than hardening the us vs. them paradigm even more than it already is. We should have learned that by now.

Over the course of the campaign, I was struck with how many times I heard people on both sides of the political spectrum say, “How could anyone possibly vote for her/him?” It wasn’t just that people disagreed; it was that they literally couldn’t imagine where the other side was coming from. There is something very important here: the power to change hearts and minds doesn’t start by insisting that you have all the right answers. Instead, it starts with seeking to understand the hopes and fears of the people who, on the surface anyway, are on the opposite side. No, you may not ever agree on the best methods to get results, but my guess is that if you ask honest questions and really listen to the answers, you’ll find that we aren’t really that far apart after all. In the months and years ahead, I’ll be looking for opportunities to do just that. I hope you will, too.

 

 

Advertisements

Welcome!

Events For Change is all about reminding you of the power of an event to create positive change, and to provide ideas and encouragement for leveraging that power through the decisions you make whenever you are involved with planning an event.

Click image for Prezi presentation >> 

 

Here’s the basic concept: whether it’s six employees meeting around a boardroom table or millions of viewers watching the Superbowl, all events have one thing in common: they bring people together.  And people are resources: they each bring their own ideas, energy, money, muscles, expertise and connections to others. They also offer you the opportunity to change the way they think about something or to inspire them to some sort of action. Every planning decision you make can have an impact: the site you select, the experience you design for the participants, who you select as vendors and service providers, the way you treat your staff or volunteers, how you distribute the revenues…all of these (and much more) provide opportunities to produce a positive effect on others and the world at large.  If you don’t consider yourself an event planner, but you advocate for a cause or non-profit organization, then events can serve as an effective tool for accomplishing many of your goals. Events give you the capability to channel resources and influence how people think and behave.  And that’s power!

Whenever you gather folks together for an event, you are assembling a formidable set of assets.   If you don’t take full advantage of that, it’s just like leaving food on your plate: only in this case, instead of tossing away good food, it’s a waste of human and financial capital.  I believe we often miss opportunities to increase the overall return on our investments of time, energy and financial resources, simply because we don’t always think through all of the ways we can make better use of the resources we are already pulling together.  

Events For Change intends to act as a source of creative ideas and a space to share original stories  and suggestions about how those resources can be applied for maximum impact and, wherever possible, to make the world a little better place after the event than before. 

We have the power!  Let’s share it and watch it grow.


%d bloggers like this: