Nothing is more critical to America’s future than our ability to stand together and take on our biggest economic problems.

Here we explore six essential questions at the heart of Teamwork. Don’t just read this brief; engage with it, providing feedback along the way. Your voice will shape the conversation, define the issues, and help the community drive meaningful change across our nation.

Where do we stand?

Polarization and Party Politics

In fact, we’ve overcome challenges greater than what we face today including two world wars by putting aside our differences and focusing on the big picture. Unfortunately that form of pragmatic cooperation is currently in very short supply. While there’s a healthy debate about just how polarized American’s are overall – there’s no doubt that our political parties have grown much further apart. Parties with clear and distinct agendas isn’t a problem in and of itself, but when paired with an unwillingness to work across the aisle it’s toxic. This situation has served to both undermine government productivity and convince more and more mainstream citizens that political engagement is a waste of time. And this isn’t just an issue at the national level – or even specific to politics – American’s are becoming less involved in their communities from participation in bowling leagues to running for elected office. This suggests that our flagging commitment to teamwork and community building is even hampering our ability to work with people pretty much like us. In a diverse nation facing great challenges this is a major red flag. Again, diverse viewpoints are inevitable and can be fuel for creative problem solving, but only in a context within which collaboration is respected and practiced skillfully. For a modern democracy to thrive citizens need to be committed to cooperation and have the teamwork skills to successfully navigate differences.

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Where are we headed?

A glimpse at our future

Many experts fear we’re nearing an inflection point in political polarization and the unwillingness to compromise. For example, how Republicans and Democrats see each other has grown dramatically more negative in recent years. Rather than respecting (or at least accepting) our differences we’re starting to doubt each other’s commitment to fair play and even love for this country. This sort of deep mistrust can lead to the zero sum thinking that tears nations apart. At best it fuels gridlock and a perpetuation of the status quo – which is a horrible fit in a rapidly changing, competitive world.

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What's Holding Up Progress?

How our federal system was designed plays some role, but this hasn’t stopped previous generations doing remarkable things and therefore isn’t an acceptable excuse. Our founders created a system of checks and balances to avoid two core risks – tyranny of the majority and individual tyrants. They did an amazing job, but left each subsequent generation of Americans with a significant governance challenge. We don’t have a system that works effectively with extreme polarization and ideological rigidity. In a parliamentary system you can get away without negotiating across the aisle, but we’re not Great Briton and shouldn’t aspire to be. Another core problem is that we’ve disproportionately empowered partisan extremes on both the left and right – which is making solving problems even where the majority of citizens agree much less likely. Right now we’re suffering from a tyranny of the minority driven by special interests and hyper partisans with grave long term implications.

Hear from the experts

What are the core
issues & challenges?

A multifaceted approach to reform

  • Best Practices
  • Teamwork Roadblocks
  • Teamwork Benefits
  • Success Stories
  • Toolkit and Mentoring
  • Explore and define teamwork best practices – including the unprecedented opportunities presented by technology. Learn more
  • Understand teamwork derailers and aspects of human nature that need to be navigated not wished away. Learn more
  • Explore the power of teamwork and inclusion – from the wisdom of crowds to the challenges and upside of diversity. Learn more
  • Learn from recent civic engagement “success stories”, e.g. Net Neutrality. Even if you didn’t agree with these recent movements – you can learn from what worked and what didn’t Learn more
  • Help build a toolkit to operationalize and scale the insights above for the benefit of citizen-driven teams, and participate in a “Teamwork Corps” to support and mentor collaborative efforts across all BTN priority categories. Learn more

How can you help move
the nation forward?

A call to every American

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