I believe anyone can make a difference.
But here we encounter the usual problem of language.
Well, because words break!
They ALL do, if driven hard enough.
Do you make a difference?
Depends on what you mean by difference, doesn’t it?
The fact that words can be made to break, is at the heart of many, if not most or all, debates. And is the common tool of anyone protecting their worldview – you can always twist the meaning of a word to suit your position.
Or sometimes you’re not twisting the word itself, you’re morphing the context to fit the word.
The challenge then, to understanding each other, ourselves, and our environment, is to establish good boundaries to our context.
Yeah, easier said than done! Nonetheless, here I go …
What is the ‘difference’ you are making?
If you want to get real, you’ve got to appreciate these concepts:
In other words:
- How large is the change between what was, and what is (or will be).
- How long will it last?
- Is it to an individual? To a group? To a nation? To the globe?
These, I believe, help better frame the touchy subject of ‘who makes a bigger difference‘?
People like to be all warm and fuzzy and say nobody is more important than anybody else. But it’s simply not true when it comes to a well-defined matter.
Would you come to me for neurosurgery?
What are the distinctions between the difference Sunil Gulati makes, and myself?
Or how about Jurgen Klinsmann and Brian Kleiban?
Clearly we think our work matters. But it’s not the same is it?
Or how about an exceptional rec coach versus a coach at the highest youth levels?
Both important yes, but different.
This is something so many people tend to lose sight of.
Steve Jobs’ impact on the iPhone, or the mobile industry, was not the same as a technician on the factory floor.
If we are talking about MLS or the National Team fielding a quality product, who are the people that can make the greatest and most immediate impact?
It’s not me!
I can’t pick the rosters, hire coaches, or institute policy.
Similarly, there’s a distinction between the rec coach and the high level club coach. One is the gateway to college and pro ranks, the other not so much.
Of course ‘development’ should happen at every level, and of course every contribution influences. But there is a difference in magnitude and scale.
We have to know where we stand, to know where we’re going.