Together Becoming One By Andrea Leigh Capuyan
Organizational Unity by Together Becoming One
As leaders, we understand that our dedication to a new endeavor requires attention to the uniting and blending of individuals – TOGETHER becoming ONE. And when our life intersects and intertwines with others in a common goal or mission, we can experience the emergence of something new. We intentionally create opportunities that lead to depth and unity that ultimately will transform each person.
Early in our marriage, I wanted to display my cooking mastery to my husband, Wayne. As I created the menu, I visualized the meal and the presentation and imagined each delectable course – picture perfect – Instagram-worthy. When we sat for dinner, my husband scanned the bountiful table, looked at me, and asked, “Where’s the rice?” Puzzled by his question, I pointed to the roasted dill potatoes I had prepared and replied, “We’re having potatoes.”. For my husband – rice makes the meal; otherwise, in his words, “it’s just a snack.” For me – there’s only one starch side at a meal; you don’t have potatoes AND rice – it’s one or the other.
This light-hearted clash was a defining moment for us in our marriage, and this exchange taught me about how individuals become one. If we wish to foster organizational unity, opportunities that reveal our differences, clarify our values, and cement our commitments are inevitable and necessary.
By the time of this dinner, I had known my husband for six years, yet his feelings about rice were a revelation to me. Choices in food don’t rate high on most couples’ compatibility checklists. What had changed for Wayne and me was the commitment we now had in our relationship. With our marriage commitment to one another, something new emerged. Our commitment was to create – become – a new entity; we were discovering – who WE are – TOGETHER, becoming ONE. Our history, experiences, expectations, needs, and desires shaped this new “US” – a new unit – a new family. Something that had not yet been – uniquely purposed TO BE.
Organizational unity is dependent on a similar commitment. Each individual must commit to becoming something new. This commitment isn’t just agreeing to adhere to common beliefs or an alignment to a defining mission. It is a recognition that a new entity forms from and through the individuals united to one another. A new mindset, a new team molded by who we are and committed to discovering who we are becoming.
This commitment requires fidelity – not to the work; instead, it is a commitment to each other. This organization cannot thrive if one person’s will subsumes everyone. We are committed to each unique person because a team is created when we come TOGETHER to become ONE. An entity that did not exist before – unique and new, shaped by everything we are. It requires a commitment to curiosity and learning. If we desire unity, then our differences matter.
Opposites attract, and differences enhance. Wisdom resists groupthink. When differences arise, it is a chance for exploration. While unity does require sacrifice and selflessness, it isn’t a simple matter of compromise. When we commit to organizational unity, we commit to a desire to know more about one another, admitting that we need one another.
The diversity of strengths, experiences, and perspectives is necessary for growth and creativity. Synergy is birthed from difference. As leaders, we know this to be true, but working through differences to find a new path is hard work. The temptation is to demand allegiance through acquiescence. Instead, we guide the formation of team unity through continued learning. And we are interested in our differences because they help us understand the values that each individual cherishes.
Wayne and I didn’t uncover a simple difference in meal preferences. This simple conversation gave us a deeper appreciation of each other’s values. Our values are the ingredients for a more meaningful relationship. Beneath desires and choices are the longings that connect us. To need one another is part of what it means to be human. Belonging, trust, and security unite us. These needs are more essential than food, clothing, or shelter.
True unity is experienced in a community that prioritizes the values of the human heart – that cares about what brings us to life and is mindful of the actions and words that wound. As leaders, we cannot abuse, ignore, or minimize what a team member values. Each person’s values are vital in crafting the values of the organization.
We work TOGETHER to determine what is most important. What the organization believes to be true, just, loving, and good is embodied in the life of each individual within the organization. We can’t know who WE are if we don’t know what each of us values. And what we value is evidenced by what we do. Thus, leaders must focus on stewarding people. Caring about a team member’s best interests, values, and needs must become a leader’s prime interest. Unity is forged through shared values. Together, we help one another follow our God-given purpose. In doing so, a richer experience awaits each of us.
Just like a simple evening meal, meetings, projects, and tasks fill our daily routines – these are the necessities of organizational life. Beyond necessity, there is an invitation to learn more about one another, uncover our values, and foster deeper connections. We give what we have, and we receive what we need. This is the recipe for becoming unified – TOGETHER becoming ONE. It is part of the most important work we can undertake. It requires us to slow down and appreciate each person on the team. This discovery forms a new life, and we are changed.
Andrea Leigh Capuyan serves on the Center for Steward Leader Studies board and is executive director for the LPC – a local ministry helping individuals impacted by unintended pregnancy, reproductive loss, and post-abortion recovery. Andrea also provides coaching and consultation, assisting others in experiencing abundance as a leader. She is a Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) with Christian Leadership Alliance. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from York University.
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