Thursday, February 3, 2011

Building Leaders

With the results of the November election being sworn in during the last week or so, I’ve had some time to reflect on the rhetoric during the election. I’ve probably spent more time thinking about this as I realize that Obama’s re-election campaign is beginning. I think about the folks I heard saying that they just didn’t know who to vote for in this last election because there just didn’t seem to be any leaders emerging. When these same people talk about the 2012 election their concern is the same—who are the leaders that will step up to the plate. When asked who they believe would be a “good candidate” they say they want someone who understands business and the economics of capitalism, has experience being a strategic thinker and problem solver, and most importantly, someone who has accomplished positive results, in some sort of enterprise that required them to lead people to accomplish these outcomes.

Interesting! As an educator I have to ask, “What, if anything, should we be doing to ensure that we have a number of leaders to choose from?”

Unlike the past, as we move headlong into a knowledge worker age, where everyone has access to the same information, the ability to see outside of the traditional box for new ways to combine and organize this information, or add new layers of understanding to the information we have, is going to be essential. Unlike the economic engines of the past which could be defined in finite terms—only a few people could own the land, a few more could own manufacturing businesses, and shareholders and individuals can own oil, all of us can own information. It seems that educating everyone to accept a leadership role is even more important now than in the past. When things are finite, you can rationalize only educating a few, but when the possibilities are infinite, it is imperative that each and every young person is in a position to contribute his/her unique gifts and talents for the “good of the world”.

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