While Kolin made many valid points in Successful Writing that Works, I’m going to have to give Coco the win here.
In one of his chapters, Kolin acknowledges “Ten Proven Ways to Be a Team Player”. I found myself (mostly) agreeing with points 1-9, but when I got to number 10, I just lost it. Point number 10 reads: ‘Go with group consensus’. Now is anyone else as frustrated/ disgusted by this mandate as I am? This goes against everything we have been taught about individuality and the value of each person’s opinion. Kolin is telling the audience that not only is conformity acceptable, but it is beneficial in this case. Okay, I will get off my soap box now (only slightly).
I can see where Kolin is coming from in a very very small way. It would be exhausting and unnecessary for one member of a group to disagree with every decision that the group makes. After all, group work requires collaboration and compromise. This does not mean, however, that a group member should stifle his or her opinion on important topics. Take the examples of children going against their parents and pursuing a career path that is against the wishes of their superiors. If every child followed the groupthink and pursued a ‘sensible’ career in medicine or law, there likely wouldn’t be any musicians, athletes, artists, etc in the world. It took these people being brave and sticking to their own opinion to allow them to achieve greatness.
I view this group project in the same light. Although compromise is necessary in some cases, the loss of individuality could ultimately make the outcome of the entire project suffer. The reason groups work so well is that each group mate brings a unique perspective to the table. The opinions of these people should be celebrated, not hidden.
So I’m sorry Kolin, but I will not “accept the group’s decision as final”. I will be that “lone ranger” when it can be of benefit to the group and to the project. After all, as Coco so eloquently stated, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”. I’m going to make that my Number 10 instead.