Samuel Langhorne Clemens (he maintained that Mark Twain, his pen name, came from working on Mississippi riverboats) is widely considered as one of the greatest authors the US has ever produced. William Faulkner referred to him as the “father of American literature” and Ernest Hemingway stated that “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.”
Dr. David McClelland, Ph.D. was one of the first psychologists to recognize the components of human motivation – specifically “power, achievement and affiliation.” It is this last human driver, affiliation, where you find the majority of people. Those who are motivated by affiliation enjoy coming together to find security in one another. They require acceptance and a sense of belonging and involvement. They tend to be supportive, struggle with emotional isolation and typically are less effective in leadership roles. They often avoid conflict (healthy or otherwise) and are very susceptible to “groupthink’ - a collection of people who reach a consensus without critical reasoning or an evaluation of consequences. The “group think” phenomenon is all about affiliation. Unfortunately, the desire for harmony(affiliation) results in dysfunctional decision-making process. And it can be rampant in your organization if not curbed. As Margaret Thatcher noted, “Nothing is so obstinate as a fashionable consensus.” Ultimately, the person you may want to be listening to (and possibly promoting) is the one who constructively provides a view that might well be contrary to the majority!!
Born exactly186 years ago this month, Clemens described himself, in his later years, as a“ Sansculotte,” referring to a radical, lower-class group in 18thcentury France who rebelled against the government.