Woodward Avenue runs through the middle of a northern Michigan town. The community has used it as the demarcation between two school districts – splitting the community in two. 70-year-old men wear opposing letter jackets around town, making their claim as to which side of the avenue “is the best”.

Does your organization have a Woodward Avenue? Are there barriers between people, teams and departments?


Unenlightened leaders place such a demand on results that they breed hostility amongst the troops. Fierce fighting rages for resources. Positioning is constant. Efforts are made to sabotage the successes of others. A “gotta get mine” mentality is worn like a badge, while secrets are whispered as people go underground to save themselves.

Competition is good, except when it’s ugly: When an organization cannibalizes itself everybody loses, including the customer.


Results are crucial; HOW we get results reveals the true leaders among us.

These are “tough times” in Michigan. Cuts, lay-offs, and bitter negotiations with unions are sending some deeper into their bunkers – but not in the town with Woodward Avenue. Here, there are a band of leaders on both sides of the street who are big enough to see today’s changes as a significant opportunity.

“We’re reaching out, sharing resources, and having conversations that we never had before,” says one of the superintendents. With “one community” guess who wins? (Hint: it’s an eight-letter word that begins with “C”.)

And what do those 70-year-old men wearing letter jackets think? One summed it up best: “It’s about time.”

Where’s your Woodward Avenue? Are you big enough to point at what we’re really competing against?

What is the difference between what “might be” and what “can be”?  You decide.

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