Network marketing is known for bringing people together from different cultures, religions, backgrounds, age groups, gender, social status, political orientation, you name it. Why is this so?

Obviously, all these people have divergent opinions about many things. But they don’t let this divide them. They could argue about who is right and who is wrong until the cows come home. Instead, they focus on a common intent. They know that what unites them is a common desire: to create freedom and prosperity for themselves and their teams, and ultimately for the world at large.

Our opinions are based on past experiences and the beliefs that grew from there.
Our intent is inspired by future vision and expressed in purposeful action.

People who share the same opinions are in agreement. Those who share the same intent are in alignment. Alignment does not require agreement in order to exist. When we are in alignment, it simply means we are on the same quest. When participants in a quest encounter diverse points of view, they don’t ask, “Who is right?” Instead, they look for “what is best” for the fulfillment of their quest.

When individuals are aligned in this way, their collective intelligence often produces results that are beyond the intelligence of any single individual. This is called synergy.

Do you love where this is going? Then turn to our Lead Interview in this issue, where Japanese philosopher and thought leader Yasuhiko Genku Kimara talks about “alignment beyond agreement.” He points out that, at this moment in history, humans are not able to work together when they don’t agree. (Instead, we kill each other—literally or verbally.) But agreement is not a prerequisite for collaboration or synergy. In fact, in multicultural networks, synergy happens in the most powerful way when we align in intention, but allow everyone to be different, individually and culturally.

Leaders are responsible for setting and articulating an intent around which people can align, but how to actualize that intent is better left up to each person’s unique strengths and creativity.

In business, making money is not a strong enough intent to align people. What might be a fulfilling intention to keep them engaged?

What if network marketers could build an even a stronger culture of inclusion (instead of inadvertently alienating certain groups of people)? Knowing the benefits of an inclusive business environment, why do some organizations still operate with a mindset of exclusivity, creating inclusion roadblocks that are a hindrance to growth? These are some of the questions we ask in the “Our Times” column.

Most network marketing companies operate already in different cultures or aspire to do so. To create an inclusive culture that attracts a variety of people, we need not only to accept our differences, but to celebrate them.

People who differ in opinion can align in intention. We all get to choose what we focus on.

Will you choose agreement or alignment?

DR. JOSEPHINE GROSS is cofounder and editor in chief of Networking Times.