Influencing confluence

Trickling runoff from a mountain’s upper reaches coalesces into rivulets, which in turn merge into brooks. Brooks combine to form streams; streams gather into creeks, which build into expansive rivers, whose hydraulic action not only moves bedrock and other so-called immovable objects, but whose flow nourishes and sustains life, land, and the entire watershed.

Such is the combining power of confluence.

Much like the tiny drops that start the flow, your teammates may come from very diverse origins. With them they bring swirling eddies of expertise and experience, bearing diverse backgrounds and beliefs, and packing a plethora of principles, paradigms, and persuasions!

But when they align in a unified flow, their cumulative momentum and empowering force are nearly unstoppable. Three observations from nature on influencing confluence in the workplace: 1. While topography and gravity direct the drainage pattern of the watershed, the direction and current of the river is only part of the overall hydrologic cycle and life support system.

  • Construct a conducive work environment that empowers people to channel their particular talents toward the team’s objective while comprehending its strategic role in the overall plan.

2. Biodiversity in the watershed is both stabilizing and sustaining, and beneficial to all resources.

  • In the workplace, a diversity of notions, opinions, expertise and experience not only strengthens the performance of the team, but also improves its outcome. Encourage diversity.

3. The least amount of influence is asserted by individual droplets at the outermost boundaries of the watershed; the highest concentration of hydraulic power is where the flow is greatest.

  • The greatest efforts of rogues and loners are ineffectual. The most effective and productive work is accomplished in collaboration with other like-minded and motivated individuals.

How has the power of confluence worked for you?