Sunday Snippet: Al Gore

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We need to go far… quickly.”

It’s fascinating that Al Gore has been able to achieve so much more outside of the White House than he was able to accomplish from within those walls. After emerging from beneath Bill Clinton’s shadow and suffering an unfortunate loss to George W. Bush in the presidential race, he has been able to exert monumental influence on the world through An Inconvenient Truth and, more recently, a book called Our Choice.

During his talks with the world, the former US Vice-President utilizes the African proverb quoted above. I’m not so sure if it actually is an African proverb or not, but its lesson is just as valuable either way.

If you want to get somewhere quickly or get something done in the fastest manner possible, you’ll want to go it alone. This way, there is no one holding you back and you can push your own agenda without impediment. Think about if you go on vacation by yourself. You don’t have to ask any of your travel companions what they’d like to do, because it’s just you. Removing this barrier, you can do anything you want. That’s efficient.

On the other hand, you can only accomplish so much on your own. Try as you might, there are only 24 hours in the day. Microsoft would not be anywhere near as big as it is if Bill Gates decided he was going to do everything himself. At some point, you need to learn to collaborate with others, working toward a common goal.

You will be able to accomplish the most when you are able to tap into the respective strengths of everyone involved. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If two heads are better than one, then three heads must be even better.

If you want to get far quickly, you need to figure out a way that you can work alone and as part of a team at the same time. A large group can be very powerful, but it needs a strong leader and each individual must take ownership of his or her own responsibilities.

Yes, we can. Together.