by James Melamed
Obama, Miracle on the Hudson and a Society of Collaborative Excellence
And what are the odds of 155 passengers surviving a plane crash into the Hudson River? This is not everyday stuff. It is what is possible. It is what is best.
As the pilot saved so many lives, he also gifted so very much to the many thousands of husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends and colleagues who would have otherwise been so severely impacted. What a gift to thousands. This pilot deserves the highest medal we have. We should create a new medal for him, a medal for exceptional excellence.
As this pilot landed the plane without a life lost, especially just a few days before the Obama Inauguration, I can not help thinking of Obama as our pilot, the world’s pilot. While the future remains most challenging and highly uncertain, one just has a sense that, if anyone can land this plane, it will be Obama. How lucky we are to now not have ordinary leadership. How lucky we are that we have a fellow with so much competence and character. What are the odds? Whatever one’s party affiliation, I suggest that we as a nation are lucky to have a guy with the competence and cool that we now have “in the cockpit.”
And I see bigger things. I see a larger social commitment to collaborative excellence. Just as the passengers remarkably cooperated to exit the plane within 90 seconds, being courteous and effective under pressure, so I see our society evolving. While there will surely be mistakes and a good measure of pragmatism, one has a sense that Obama is leading a culture of collaborative excellence.
In Obama’s facilitative leadership, we see the best of the mediation and facilitation fields having made their way to the halls of power in our nation and the world. “We are all one” and our President is now on the network.
That Obama does not want to give up his Blackberry is so heartening. His rapid rise offers, among other things, a more recent understanding of the “real lives of real people.” Obama is addicted, like many of us, to being connected and to having access to as much information as possible. Our online connectedness is the daily manifestation of the world’s oneness.
And so, with the Obama Inauguration days away, and on the heels of the “Miracle on the Hudson,” I am surprisingly optimistic even in the pits of our economic collapse. Somehow, I have a sense that we are going to be able to put “this plane down” and recover, and even learn from our challenges and calamities.
Ours is a culture poised to recognize excellence in leadership and excellence in performance. “The Miracle on the Hudson” is our antidote to 9/11. It is us at our resourceful best rather than our victimized worst. If only out of necessity, we may now well be entering an era of collaborative excellence. Necessity breeds invention, often just in the nick of time. May it be so.
Jim Melamed co-founded Resourceful Internet Solutions (RIS) and Mediate.com in 1996. Before this, Jim founded The Mediation Center in Eugene, Oregon in 1983 and served as Executive Director of the national Academy of Family Mediators from 1987 to 1993.
Jim is past-Chair of the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission and a member of the Oregon State Bar. Jim teaches Mediation at the Pepperdine University School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.
Jim was the first President and Executive Director of the Oregon Mediation Association (1985) and received the OMA's 2003 Award for Excellence.
Jim Received the Oregon State Bar Dispute Resolution Section's 2006 Sidney Lezak Award of Excellence and the 2007 John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution.
Jim's undergraduate degree is in in psychology, with honors, from Stanford University and his law degree is from the University of Oregon.