The Path to Unity is Paved with Values

As a nation, we have a lot of healing to do. Not just from the pandemic and subsequent economic recession, but also due to centuries of racial injustice and gender inequality. We also have a lot of healing to do around political partisanship. Division between political parties has existed for many years, but it seems as if we’ve reached a state of chronic deadlock where 49% of the country has their heels dug in on one side and 49% are dug in on the other and it is trending worse, not better. 

Imagine for a moment, a candidate who was running for office based on values instead of party or platform. Why not? We are currently in an era defined by either being a disruptor or getting disrupted. I believe that the two-party system is more likely to be disrupted than be a disruptor.  Not to mention, the next generation of voters isn’t particularly keen on being labeled. 

Before I share with you our “big idea” I want to first take you back to 2016. We’ve already shared with you “Destiny or Intention? The making of The PEAK Fleet” including the origin of our PEAK Values® and the significance of November 18th.  There is a very specific moment during that time that we haven’t shared broadly. During our founders weekend, we used dozens and dozens of sticky notes to capture and organize our ideas. There was a section titled “What is the dent in the universe we will make together?” with a sticky note that read: “Create a national conversation around values.”  

On January 7th of this year, Jen and I were unpacking the horrific events at the US Capital that occurred the previous day.  She asked me “What are we going to do? What can we do?” ….to which I responded “Well, we explain to our clients and workshop participants all the time that we believe most conflict isn’t about the person or issue, it’s the result of having different values but not knowing. Then I reminded her about the ‘national conversation about values’ sticky note.  Jen stopped me and excitedly said “say that again” and after I did she pondered outloud “I wonder if Congress ever does teambuilders?”  When I asked “Why?” she responded by saying “Because I want to facilitate our core values exercise on the floor of the Senate!”   

While it’s definitely a “moonshot” level idea, I think she’s on to something. Based on my experience, I suspect the most liberal of liberals and the most conservative of conservatives might actually have many values in common. Could it lead to more bi-partisanship? Maybe. What do we have to lose?  If you are a member of Congress and like our idea, let us know. We’ll even pay our own way and do it for free. 

I am not naïve enough to think that the old guard would abandon their political platforms, but what about the next generation of politicians? In terms of disruption, what IF a candidate ran a campaign based on values. Not “party values” ….but their personal core beliefs.  What if EVERY person running for office did the same exact thing?  Personally, I think the two-party system could be disrupted by a movement from the middle based on values that could unify the country. 

Here’s your call to action:  Instead of “picking a side” on a divisive topic, have a conversation about values. Ask yourself “why is this so important to me?” ….share with others how an issue or topic aligns (or is misaligned) with your values.  Seek to understand the values of others.  Explore if you have common values or beliefs that might lead to some kind of middle ground or compromise. 

Oh, and if you happen to know anybody who works at the House of Representatives or US Senate, please let them know we have a “why not?” opportunity for them to consider.   

Brian Stinson

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