In our December 6 newsletter, we identified three courageous actions strong leaders must take in 2021. Today, we examine the second action more deeply: focus on the collective. Effective leaders focus their attention on making much-needed positive changes that can only be achieved through collaboration and collective action within their spheres of influence. Meg Wheatley’s words from 2016 are as true today as when she wrote them, perhaps even more so.
What This World Needs
This world does not need more entrepreneurs.
This world does not need more technology breakthroughs.
This world needs leaders.
We need leaders who put service over self, who can be steadfast through crises and failures, who want to stay present and make a difference to the people, situations and causes they care about.
We need leaders who are committed to serving people, who recognize what is being lost in the haste to dominate, ignore and abuse the human spirit.
We need leaders because leadership has been debased as those who take things to scale or are first to market or dominate the competition or develop killer apps. Or hold onto power by constantly tightening their stranglehold of fear until people are left lifeless and cowering.
We need leaders now because we have failed to implement what was known to work, what would have prevented or mitigated the rise of hatred, violence, poverty and ecological destruction. We have not failed from a lack of ideas and technologies. We have failed from a lack of will. The solutions we needed were already here.
Now it is too late. We cannot solve these global issues globally. We can see them clearly. We can understand their root causes. We have evidence of solutions that would have solved them. But we refused to compromise, to collaborate, to persevere in resolving them as an intelligent, creative species living on one precious planet.
Now it’s up to us, not as global leaders but as local leaders. We can lead people to create positive changes locally that make life easier and more sustainable, that create possibility in the midst of global decline.
Let us use whatever power and influence we have, working with whatever resources are already available, mobilizing the people who are with us to work for what they care about.
*Meg Wheatley is a world-renowned expert on systems thinking, organizational behavior, and leadership.