COMMENTARY 983.4: Working Together

I want to be thin — especially when I’m not hungry.

And it seems the President and members of Congress want to work together — especially if they don’t have strong feelings about the issue.

I liked President Obama’s call for more civility and greater cooperation, but I’m not convinced it will happen. There’s always a lot of room between rhetoric and reality.

Of course, calls for unity are not new. President John Kennedy was lofty in his appeal: “Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, and tap the ocean depths.”

In politics, business, sports, and family, cooperation, collaboration and teamwork are not just great words, they’re great strategies.

As Ken Blanchard tells us, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” After all, TEAM means “Together Everyone Achieves More!”

Lots of people have said some smart and inspiring things about the power of unity. Here’s some of my favorites:

Vince Lombardi: “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”

Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Finally, remember what Harry Truman said: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 4

  1. Dear Mr. Josephson,

    Many thanks for the inspiring and thought-provoking message!

    As you rightly noted, appeal for unity is not new and thus, cooperation is not just a great word but, a great strategy.

    The British philosopher, Bertrand Russell once remarked, “The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” In a world dominated by power struggle, asking for cooperation from another can appear demanding but, as long as the purpose is noble, it is obtainable.

    In his letter to Mary Hulbert, the leader of the Progressive Movement, Woodrow Wilson, beautifully expressed the connection between power, purpose and cooperation thus: “Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.”

    At the outset, the statement may appear a bit complex but, if we read between the lines, we can see that the gift of cooperation is all ours if we can align our will with the purpose of others and base our actions on inspiration rather than domination.

    Recently, during an enlightening evening lecture titled ‘The Tree of Life” by His Holiness Sachinandan Swami, I learned something about a rare species that thrives primarily by this gift of cooperation. Redwood trees are the tallest living beings on the Earth, reaching heights of up to 360 feet (100+ meters) and are known for their longevity, typically 500 – 1000 years. With their ability to lift matter from the dark density of the earth into the uplifted light-filled heights, Redwood are a celebration of the stature and majesty of physical incarnation and creation.

    An unusual thing about these giants is their disproportionate root-shoot ratio. Their laterally growing roots drill only a few feet into the earth, leaving the root-shoot ratio of these structures at 1:100, which according to theory, should render them vulnerable even to the mildest of storms. Surprisingly still, Redwood are the species that successfully withstand and tide over the worst of winter storms and forest fire.

    This they achieve by forming a strong underground network, locking and fusing roots with each other. Intense forest fires sometimes burn all the way around their cambium layer (barks) and kill them but their roots, buried in the cool, moist soil, often survive and send up new sprouts. Thus Redwoods survive all odds to give us, humans, a valuable lesson on survival, i.e., cooperation.

    In the final analysis, leadership is all about substitution of thought for raw power, of knowledge for superstition, and of cooperation for force. Unfortunatley however, as T.S. Eliot pointed out once, “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They do not mean to do harm…they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

    Your humble servant,


  2. What Will Matter | COMMENTARY 931.4: Working TogetherDear Michael, Why don’t you consider working with me as a team. Let me know

    1. I am currently away from the office through Friday, May 22, 2015 with limited access to email or phone.    If you have an immediate need please contact Nicole Moore ( or Tyler English ( by email or call 804 746-4179.  

      Sharon Neeley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *