Unity is diversity with a common goal

unity is strengthMy family went white water rafting in Colorado.   On the boat was the very experienced guide – who had led expeditions for years, two guides in training – who had been on daily excursions for weeks, and my family – who had never rafted before. This was a group with very diverse experience in white water rafting.

They key to our success was to all work together with a common goal: make it to the end with no one falling out. Along the way we would challenge our capabilities, form bonds with the other rafters, and have lots of fun.

The experience guide gave us specific instructions before and during the most stressful times. This prepared us for what was coming and the enabled us to maneuver through the rapids, “Row once…row twice on the right…row once on the left…” The guide and the guides in training then encouraged us with compliments on our efforts when we had made it through each turn.

Our unity to the common goal with our diverse team gave us strength, significance, and ultimately success. These same three areas can also improve your team’s performance.


Athos, Porthos, Aramis – The Three Musketeers, were joined by the loan swordsman D’artagnan to protect the king in the book by Alexandre Dumas. Their motto was “All for one and one for all.” Along with defending the king with their lives, they would also fight for each other.

Just like the different experience of people on our white water rafting excursion, unity to a common goal brings teams of diverse talents together and makes the team stronger than the individual strengths of each person.


The guide on our white water rafting excursion put is in the right seats for our level of experience, gave us encouragement and positive re-enforcement at every turn, and led us to success. This was an engaged team, we felt like we played a significant part in the success of our goals.

The average companies today have employees who are not engaged. The most recent Gallup surveys show that only 30% of employees are engaged, 50% are not engaged, and 20% are actively disengaged. Imagine how our white water rafting would have gone if we had three people following the guides rowing instructions, five with their oars out of the water and two rowing in the opposite direction.

Gallup’s research shows that employees want significance. When companies focus on allowing their people to “have the opportunity to do my best” and “understand the mission and purpose of the company” employee engagement increases.


Our white water rafting excursion was a success. Not just because no one fell in the water, but because we accomplished something we had never done before, and weren’t sure we could. My family takes trips like this all the time, pushing the limits of what we have done before, always with the help of other people who have already done what we are attempting. It is more than the individual accomplishment; it is the long term impact of stretching to achieve more.

There is an African Proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” You see if you want your teams to go farther than they have ever gone, a unified team of diverse people will get you there.