From Independence to Interdependence

Happy Independence Day! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring that the United States of America were no longer part of the British Empire.

interdependence 1Once we became an independent country, it may have been the interdependence of Americans that made our country great. Independence means being able to do things for one’s self and not needing anyone else to survive. However the greatest American achievements (and human achievements, for that matter) came from people working together to achieve things that no single person could do alone.

DuFour, DuFour, Eaker and Many identify interdependence as a key component of a professional learning team. They contend that working toward a common goal does not qualify as interdependence. After all, marathon runners are all working towards the goal of finishing the race, but they are not an interdependent team. A true interdependent team must depend on one another to achieve the shared goal, thus no one person is responsible for the common goal. This means no one may work in isolation. We rely on each other, make collaborative decisions that impact each of our peers, and are mutually accountable so group data must be shared along the way.

We can learn a powerful lesson from America: united we stand.

  • Where does your team fall on a continuum of independence to interdependence?
  • What is valued in your organization? How do you know?

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