I picked up in HBR's The Conversation blog a piece about Eric Whitacre's virtual choir. Whitacre is a conductor who recorded a video of himself conducting a piece of music, entirely in his own head, in complete silence. Then 185 singers from around the world responded to his virtual direction, recorded themselves singing their part, and he pieced it together into a choir.
Now we've been enjoying watching the BBC Proms lately, but I must admit I enjoyed this more than a great deal of what I've seen on tv. Seeing each person sing their bit, with all the passion and emotion that comes from singing in the privacy of your own home, was deeply moving. But as they were wearing their own clothes, they hadn't been to the hairdressers, and they were in their own homes, you can see the beauty that a choir is: they are all different, yet their shared love of a single piece of musical mastery brings them together, and they create something new and wonderful.
In the article Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd use it to explore how we can use remote technologies in a more human way.
I think there's another point, actually much simpler: we may be different, but a leader with a strong vision and compelling story, where we can clearly see the contribution we will make, can draw us together. We will believe in the cause, and give our time to it. And that because of our shared belief, even those who don't participate will know that these things that are important, and will be drawn to them, and moved by them.
A few years ago at work we had the slogan 'Together We're Stronger.' There were posters up about it for years after we dropped it. We've now got a better poster-removal strategy, and the concept has been replaced by 'individual recognition.' Individual recognition rings true, but I think there's still a lot to be said for what we have in common, and the power that comes from sharing it.