Q&A - June 17, 2016

When I attended the Okmulgee Pecan Festival over the weekend, I saw more than carnival rides and corndogs. I saw a small town waking up from a prolonged slumber and reclaiming an important part of its heritage. Beyond the amazing street performances and lively sidewalk exhibits, I saw the reemergence of community pride on full display.

Even more remarkable to me than all the world-class BBQ cooks and entertaining evening concerts was the sight of local townspeople blushing with enthusiasm and nostalgic memories of past glory days. I can’t tell you exactly what “mojo” is, but Okmulgee has apparently “got it back!” What I saw was a town getting back on its feet and standing tall—standing proudly once again.

Congratulation Okmulgee and to everyone who passionately worked to bring back the iconic and beloved Pecan Festival. This was not just a three-day event, this was a reawakening. Your efforts this year will reverberate for many more to come. You have proven to us that Okmulgee’s best days are still ahead.

The 2016 Okmulgee Pecan Festival is a perfect example of a successful team effort. For consideration today, let’s examine how this dynamic process works:

Q: What are the benefits of working together on a project?

Never underestimate the power of people coming together in common purpose. Effective teams work by discussing as a group how best to complete a task at hand and by coordinating their mutual efforts toward implementation. Teams can create a supportive environment for members to better achieve goals and complete projects. They can enhance methods, standards, processes and overall effectiveness.

The opportunity to work with others, rather than on your own, can provide distinct benefits. For instance, teamwork allows various skillsets to come together and enables the sharing of knowledge and expertise. By capitalizing on the diverse strengths of team members, you can achieve higher quality output and more creative solutions. Working together can motivate a group to get things done, increasing productivity as well as performance. Groups that work well together can complete complicated projects much quicker than individuals working on their own.

Brainstorming among team members can be educational and generate a broader pool of ideas. Group discussion allows issues to be identified earlier and problems to be solved more efficiently, and the delegation of assignments allows workloads to be spread across more people, reducing the overall stress on individuals.

Being part of a team can help develop your interpersonal skills such as speaking and listening as well as your group skills such as leadership, and working with and motivating others. Team participation can develop relationships and camaraderie when members come to understand one another. But for most team members, there is an overall sense of satisfaction gained by being part of a bigger project.

I appreciate all of the questions and comments I receive from Okmulgee residents. As a community, we will either succeed together or fail together. The power is in our hands both jointly and collectively. We are engaged in this together. Please continue to communicate your thoughts and ideas for this column by writing to me at osuit-president@okstate.edu.