A leadership power shift is underway.

The current politics brings out the worst in conversations, actions, and impacts. From derogatory and twisted tweets to the inability to take positive action, what happens in Washington, DC, is shifting greater power to cities, states, and businesses. When presented with challenges, the closer organizations are to people, the greater fortitude there is to collaborate and solve problems.

The tone being set by the President is unforgivable, as is the inaction of Congress to rise above negative and party politics and try to do what is best for the country. We always will have differences, but the difference is ignoring infrastructure, environmental challenges, healthcare solutions, and budget and deficit programs does not make our country better for future generations. We seem to have forgotten what it means to leave our place and spirit better than we found it.

The Shift in Leadership Power

Cities, states, and businesses are engaging more in national and international issues due to the lack of strategic competence at the national level. For example:

  • Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and current CEO, promised to provide up to $15 million to close the gap of the funding the United Nations will lose because of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal.
  • The State of California passed an initiative to establish a universal health care.
  • The Nevada legislature passed a bill to let anyone to buy into Medicaid, giving access to health insurance for any state citizen.
  • 175 cities plus the District of Columbia pledged a commitment to the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
  • CEOs from Facebook, Dell, Apple, Google, and others have told Texas Governor Abbott not to sign or support discriminatory legislation.
  • Exxon, ConocoPhillips, Apple, Tesla, JP Morgan, Salesforce, and over 20 top companies support the Paris climate agreement and will implement programs to support the agreement going forward.

More examples exist. Whether all will be successful in their pursuits is uncertain. Nevertheless, they are stepping up to create a better place than they found, doing much more than the failure of our current national politics.

The Necessary Shift of Leadership Power

leadership powerI believe business can be a power for good, and I believe CEOs are becoming activists in positive change. Over time, change will eventually happen at the national level. The good news is because of the national political ineptitude, leadership at the city, state, and business level is accelerating into broader issues and challenges.

The reason why: Every citizen in every city and state and every employee in every business are impacted by issues of discrimination, environment, healthcare, and more.

We cannot afford to wait or kick the can down the road. Mayors, Governors, and CEOs understand this fact.

Most of Washington, DC, does not understand the need to solve problems for a better future. Some legislators try to solve problems and be inclusive in the process. However, the numbers are small, and they are cornered by divisive political officeholders.

The Reality of Shifting Power

No different than in a corporate environment. When a leader is divisive or too smart of the greater good, individuals and teams find ways to work around the problematic leader. Employees can leave companies, eventually, to find better leadership and organizational culture. It is much more difficult to leave a country, and we do not want this to happen in any case.

The reality of the situation is individuals have a choice. One group will raise their voices, and a subset within will do more than just talk. They will act. Another group will join in the divisive tones and accentuate it. A rising danger is the rising violence and negative actions taken by others. A greater wedge and divide begins. A final group are bystanders. Bystanders are apathetic in conversation, voting, and positive action. Bystanders look the other way until it comes at them.

A pretty picture disappears, and reality sets in. Without the activist leadership at the city, state, and business level, everyone suffers. We need positive, problem-solving, collaborative, principle-centered, purpose-activated leaders. This is the new reality of the shifting power and why we need leaders to engage people in the first group and gain more leaders within this group.

Our Role in the New Shifting Power

We cannot be passive – none of us. More than anything, we need to find our inner upstander and put away our bystander tendencies.

  • We need to vote.
  • We need to have better conversation on tough issues.
  • We need to more than just talk. We need to act where we live and work.
  • We need to lead positively in conflict. Conflict is inevitable. Stalemate is not.
  • We need to support leaders in cities, states, and businesses who are taking a stand and implementing programs beyond their bottom line. The bottom line will continue to grow when we continue to build and grow a positive future with productive, meaningful, and inclusive solutions.

For the middle, city, state, and business, the time to use your new leadership power is now. Use it well.

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For educators, encourage students to think for themselves and to think critically and solve creatively.

For business leaders, reach across generations and develop leaders who are unafraid, purpose-activated, profit-oriented, and problem-solvers. Create the right blend of business and community intelligence. Be active in a way that empowers others within your organization and throughout your stakeholder community.

For city and community leaders, be bold in putting meaning behind your city and neighborhoods, implementing programs that create a better place in which the meetings are filled, voting turnout reaches 80+ percent, and volunteers show up in force to lend a hand.

For state leaders, take what a city and community leader does and broaden it. Cities and states are diverse so be diverse in your partnerships. Tap voices outside of your immediate political circles and collaborate to devise better solutions for a better future.

For national leaders, change in a positive way that builds a better way forward for as many as possible. Find your character and then use it.

Wherever You Are, Lead Now

When leadership at upper levels fail, each layer closer to the action rises with more fervor than before. The leadership void fills with collaborative solutions and better results by individuals who understand with clarity how inaction hurts.

Change rarely comes from the top alone. People in the middle create a greater opportunity for purposeful change. Eventually, top leaders will get a clue and change, too. The ones that do not will disappear. Unfortunately, damage is left in their wake.

For the middle – city, state, and business, the time to use your new leadership power is now. Use it well.

 

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