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For the sake of progress . . . We have got to learn how to work together!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be strong enough to pick up a car? You probably think that job is best left to superheroes. Well, let’s think again. What if you had 20 or 30 people all picking up the car together? Isn’t that a little more in the realm of possibility?
And while you’re thinking about what is possible with a group of 20 or 30 people, let’s take it a step further – what if you multiplied that number by two or three? In other words, what if you had several groups working together on the same issues? The possibilities are endless.
Let’s face it – solving problems and making progress in communities can seem daunting at times. In Seminole County there are countless individuals, groups and organizations, and each is tirelessly working to make our home an even better place to live. Just think what we could accomplish if we could find a way to put aside our differences and work together for a BetterWay for us all.
There is real strength in numbers. When you have many groups with different views, resources, and skills applying their intelligence and strength to solve a problem together, the results can be like the work of superheroes.
By networking, coordinating, cooperating, and collaborating, organizations working together can accomplish goals they couldn’t reach working in isolation.
Groups of people can work together to accomplish amazing tasks. They can figure out ways to garner the necessary skills, funds, and time to solve community problems and improve its services.
Individuals and organizations have a networking relationship when they exchange information in order to help each organization do a better job. For example, if all of our community organizations would share their yearly calendars of public events, it would help everyone foresee and forestall any scheduling conflicts. Networking requires the least amount of commitment and time and can in itself have significant positive results.
When organizations cooperate, they not only share information and make adjustments in their services – they share resources to help each other do a better job. In a cooperative relationship, organizations may share staff, volunteers, expertise, space, funds, and other resources. However, in order to enter into a cooperative relationship, we also have to let go of some turf issues. Come on guys, we have to be willing to share the ownership and the responsibility, to risk some hassles, and to reap the rewards of our efforts together.
Where do we begin in building effective organizational relationships? First of all, we have to sign on to the idea and we have to make sure that everyone who is affected is involved in the process, directly or indirectly. Who is that? It includes all the stakeholders and that is everyone who wishes to make our great community an even better place to live, work and visit.
If we want this effort to succeed, we will need the cooperation, and better yet, the help of everyone who will benefit from a good outcome.  The important thing is to make sure that everyone – every group and every organization – knows they have a real say in an effort that will affect their lives.
And, once we get everyone working together, we need to learn how to listen. In order for people to begin to see each other as partners, we need to tell each other what is important and make sure that each one of us, and each of our individual comments and ideas, is heard.
Each person involved needs to be able put aside his or her own concerns long enough to listen to others. All this sounds so simple, but it can be difficult, especially when the risks are high and everyone has emotions related to the outcomes.
There is power in numbers. As we get better at working together, we will develop a clearer and greater vision of what we can actually accomplish. If we can figure out how to work together cooperatively, there are really no limits to what we can do. Let’s get to work!

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