Aristotle 348 BC

Aristotle 348 BC

“…. but the whole is something besides the parts.”Aristotle 348 BC


This phrase is often quoted as “the sum is greater than its parts”, and while they both convey essentially the same outlook, I would like to avoid any potential admonishment from our county’s many learned scholars. It does describe something we have all experienced in life, the phenomenon of teams. They might have been sports teams, office teams, clubs, fellow parishioners in a house of worship, or community members that share the same passions and goals. But when the liked minded individuals group together to accomplish things they could not create alone, the magic of teams is created. Missions are accomplished that were previously viewed as “too hard”, “too expensive” or “unattainable”. And when a team proves the naysayers wrong, it is a beautiful thing. There is nothing like it. I was lucky enough to have experienced this years ago at The Daily Star. Being part of that team was an honor and a privilege. Many of those individuals remain and our community is better for it.

Why am I talking about teams? Because, in my opinion, we could all benefit from better teamwork. The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce can be a better teammate. And we are not alone. We have substantial hurdles ahead of us. I have spoken about them before. Issues of housing, infrastructure and childcare are difficult problems that will require imaginative solutions. There are also central to our future growth, prosperity, and quality of life. No one entity in this county can “crack the code” for these dilemmas we share just by themselves. Neither the City of Oneonta, our towns or our villages can accomplish what is needed alone. Nor can Otsego County, Southern Tier 8 or the Mohawk Valley Region. The Governor of New York, our elected representatives or political parties can’t do it either. But maybe, just maybe, we can all accomplish our goals if we truly work together.

Imagine Otsego County with W.I.S.E. Housing built upon water, internet service, sewer and electric power connections that match the needs of new industries that will offer jobs for the new millennium; single family and multi-family housing developments for the folks that work throughout the county; and high speed broadband internet that promotes the societal communication platforms of the future both at home and work. And today, there are unprecedented funds available for just this kind of infrastructure investment. There are Federal, State and Regional funding sources that are available now. Today. This will not be a free money ride and we will all need to put some skin in the game. But now is thew time. Martin Luther King once said that “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.”  But can it be done?

According to Sam Molony of ZoomShift, there are 7 Key Elements to Building a Great Team. The Right People. Commitment. Communication. Complementary Strengths. Shared Values.  Cooperation. And Conflict Management. But it all starts with the people. I ask everyone in our county to make your voices heard for a shared effort that leads to a shared solution, with shared benefits and shared action that achieves results. Who do you know that can help? Are you someone who wants to help? Do you have expertise that can help move us forward? Would you like to see action so we can achieve big goals? It’s time for the big tent. It is time to move away from the past and stride confidently into our future. It is time to prove Aristotle right. It is time be something besides our parts. It is time for a fierce urgency for now. Who would like to join me?



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