Volume XXI, Number 36 (Issue 1040) September 4, 2023
Of One Accord
For reasons that escape me, the phrase “of one accord” popped into my head and captured my attention last Wednesday morning. If you Google that expression, its roots can be found in Middle-English, specifically, the King James Bible, where it means “in agreement” or “like-mindedness.” In my experience, a united front of like-minded people is remarkably powerful. Conversely, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Thus, being of one accord is important – provided it is not the product of group think. Permit me to explain.
In our work with client organizations, we consider being of one accord the starting point for action. It is also the much sought after end point following hearty and honest discussion and debate. In other words, being of one accord represents an inflection point. Only it takes work to get there.
That is because differences of opinion are the norm. Diversity of experience, backgrounds, education, and beliefs make it so. The resulting differences in thought resulting from one’s point of view should be honored and celebrated. However, the breadth and wealth of that diversity is of little value if it is not shared with others. The free and open expression and sharing of differing points of view are essential if for no other reason than none of us is blessed with total, let alone absolute and perfect, knowledge. Since none of us can lay claim to being omniscient, the more you and I are willing to listen patiently, dispassionately, and objectively to what others know and believe, the more likely it is a more robust and comprehensive answer can be found. Of course, on the other side of that coin, others must reciprocate by allowing us to give voice to our thoughts and beliefs. When you accomplish that – the seemingly rarest of all events – it may be possible to synthesize and leverage a collection of respective “truths.”
An important key to hearing others thoughts and beliefs is the ability to create a psychologically safe space. By that, it is critical that those whose opinions are sought feel completely free to share their thoughts without concern or fear of laying themselves open to another’s judgement or worse. Thus, going forward, remember anytime you need to solve a problem or settle on a course of action, two heads are better than one and three are better than two. It is no less important to note that when the exchange of opinions and debate is over, as far as everyone else is concerned, the group is of one accord. Translation: there cannot be any expression of a minority opinion in the manner of the U.S. Supreme Court when it issues an
opinion. Nor should there be snide remarks or the obvious rolling of the eyes to indicate you did not get everything you wanted in the decision.
The key is all should have their say, but that does not guarantee all will get their way. In summary, once a decision is reached, all must demonstrate they are behind the decision one hundred percent when asked. It should not matter whether that final decision was reached by majority vote, a weighting of the votes, or via an informed decision by the individual with the most responsibility/authority (i.e., the individual with the most to lose). Down the road, after the decision has been implemented and some results are known, there will be time enough for critique in the after-action/lessons learned meeting you and your colleagues will surely hold.
Soli Deo Gloria
“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’” Matthew 12:25
J. Keith Hughey
Web site: www.jkeithhughey.com
Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2023 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.