I spent two out of the last three days at a leadership training thing. You know, get- your- team- across- to- the- other- platform- using- a- plank- and- two- pipe- cleaners stuff. As you can imagine, the Chief/Indian ratio was highly skewed, which made for some memorable conversations.
The entire event was glutted with Communist overtones. The activities, even the competitive ones, were carefully orchestrated to ensure that resolution could only be attained if everyone worked together. Of course, all had to be involved equally in every activity and assigned some task that they had the stated or perceived skill to handle.
The final event, in short, was a tower build-off. Having cracked the system, the two teams joined into one to build a single super-big tower, despite my assertions that the assigned task stated two were necessary. I contributed my ideas on how to organize etc, but having had enough of competition, conflict, and petri-dish platitudes to hold me for quite some time, I slunk into the background, happy to quietly fulfill my role as Tall- Guy- with- Small- Girl- on- Shoulders. As the tower was erected, another guy about my height and I hoisted the appointed women, each holding their half of the joint structure. There was cheering. Pictures were taken.
During the debriefing, as discussion was led towards concepts of how this activity was supposed to be representative of the efforts of the community leaders towards a better city and region, I couldn’t help but push aside the hammers and sickles dancing in my head and note that the group was only successful when the big people held the small ones on their shoulders, supporting the entire structure.