Let’s face it; we didn’t expect to be in this situation. We expected a life of good jobs, and a growing economy that supports our real goal of creating wealth and a better more prosperous way of life.
The American Dream, that’s what we were promised.
What’s Being Delivered
We do not want high food prices, $4 or $5 per gallon gas, real estate underwater, high unemployment and outsourcing of our jobs, and the uncertainty and high stress that comes with these problems. That is not the American Dream. But, it could be argued that we did this to ourselves (even if mostly unconsciously). As a result, we face a new and more threatening reality.
Again, the “insight” quote comes to mind from Dr. Ellis:
“Insight is generally meaningless to human beings.”
Also coming to mind is the ploys of our friends on Madison Avenue and in the media who have so brainwashed (and mediated) us with their spin: trickery of what we need to live a full and happy life and with commercials that seduce us into irrational beliefs and habits helping perpetuate the siren’s song of consumerism.
We could say that we have become so good at ignoring conflicting evidence if it means we cannot have what we want that self-deception is our reality.
Failing to Train Leaders
As I said, research and results continue to expose how lacking we are in the care, feeding and development of leaders, be they bosses, consultants or coaches, that are working on or even believe that we need new tools, methods, practices and maps to help us navigate effectively in a world turned upside down.
My guess is that we will continue to use the ineffective, symptom treating, range of flawed and incongruous change and improvement programs that make us so comfortable and feed our ego needs so we can believe that what we call ourselves is true.
Of course, there will always be those fearless pioneers (with the arrows in there back) who may help save us from ourselves.
Leaders We Follow
So what does my description of the world-in-crisis and my assessment of all of the out-of-touch people have to do with Leadership? Hopefully it is obvious. Every challenge and risk I have referenced is and has been guided and directed by a leader or leaders. Many have graced the cover of magazines and been featured on major television shows.
What’s the problem? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are we (leaders) so easy to romance, corrupt, trick or are we just slaves to our narcissism?
- Is there a leadership moral code that has slipped through the cracks over years as greed and promises of wealth wiped out the noble purpose of business?
- In working so hard to “gain the world”, have we “lost our collective soul?
- Where is the wisdom, vision, sense of duty to leave a legacy of excellence, progress, while making a greater good difference?
Jim Collins warned of leaders having to choose between what’s best for their companies or what’s best for their celebrity. Maybe his warning came too late or maybe we chose our celebrity. The latter is my best assessment of the mess we are in business today. I wonder why so many of us sold out.
“If we allow the celebrity rock-star model of leadership to triumph, we will see the decline of corporations and institutions of all types. The twentieth century was a century of greatness, but we face the very real prospect that the next century will see very few enduring great institutions.” ~Jim Collins
Leaders With Purpose
Each leader has to choose to take up the practice and fully dedicate and commit to a life journey of self-knowledge, self-development, the search for their noble purpose, and the personal goal to transcend the ego and be in the world with our highest levels of integrity, grace, and consciousness.
- Where are the champions of our future greatness?
- When I think about leadership development, I don’t think it is unfair to say, “all are not hunters who blow the horn.”
As Wilber would say, “life presents itself once.” And, as I have stated in previous writings, all our stories end (for the most part) the same way.
- Are our expectations too low, our worldviews too narrow, and our awareness of what we are capable of doing and obligated to do as leaders too limited?
- Have we lost that sacred piece of ourselves that is the spiritual ground of our being and compels us to live with loving, kindness, and compassion in our work and life?
- Do we show up each day ready to operate from our highest levels of love, integrity, service, ego selflessness, determination, and persistence?
- Are we fully awake and prepared to apply skillful means and higher stage consciousness to our life and work responsibilities?
Leader’s now find themselves in an elevated, very unique and crucial role in our society. We are the company builders, visionaries, strategists, cultural architects, drivers of innovation, and the ones who try to make our employees’ work lives as satisfying as their life away from work.
We are accountable to everyone and not entitled to privileges but obligated to create our company’s legacy.
Be the Change
We can be the change catalyst driving the movement to a more, adaptable, innovative, successful, and people centric organization in pursuit of its noble purpose. Deep inside we know it is up to us as leaders to reinvent our management and leadership disciplines for the new realities we face.
To ask our teams and colleagues for help in this grand task of creating our professional legacy for the future generations of leaders. So what is stopping us from actualizing our collective noble purpose? Don’t say it Dr. Ellis. It’s time to go to work…
“We want a few mad people now. See where the sane ones have landed us!” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Your thoughts, feedback and comments are appreciated…
- Why Some People Have All the Luck (blogs.hbr.org)
- IDEAS FOR LEADERS: Nine Leadership Behaviors to Build Commitment [Jerry Tarasofsky] (ecademy.com)
- Are You a Strong Leader on the Inside? (linked2leadership.com)