Updated: Jul 27
Preparing ourselves to act and think differently is challenging, especially when we think about exercising leadership in our work, volunteer roles, and families. It is hard work to change our behaviors, especially those behaviors that have been ingrained in us from an early age.
Our world is not what it was ten years ago or even five years ago. Recent events in our nation have highlighted the lack of intergovernmental cooperation, the intensity of how partisan politics can divide us, and how this paralyzes our ability to make progress in solving monumental issues. But everything is not all bad and harmful. Great things are happening in our communities. How often did your parents tell you, “Don’t focus on the negative? Look at the positive”? My parents did, and I have said the same to my children. I know it is easier said than done, but we must also consider how we change the negative.
Looking at our current environment, here is a summary of the current positive and negative things.
Lack of trust – public behavior around many issues have become polarized and often uncivil.
Integrity – has taken a bashing as we look at scandalous behavior nationwide.
Accountability – from education and social work to our workplaces, we are all being asked to demonstrate the validity of our work, creating justifiable outcomes.
A changing workforce and workplace – in the book The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida explains his research that 30% of our work is creative or knowledge-based – working with our intellect and not with our hands. He states, “We must be tolerant of all lifestyles, one that fosters creative work.”
Technology – has changed how we work, with whom we work, and communicate. According to Thomas Friedman in “The World is Flat,” our world has been flattened by technology, information systems, the global economy, outsourcing, and worldwide shopping. What we do in our local communities impacts the rest of the world.
Young adults are returning home – there is always the pull to come home. I have seen many of our young people return home, which is what we want. People in positions of authority have talked about how to keep young people in the community for years. Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting states, “Communities need to provide a meaningful opportunity to come home.”
If we got it right, what would our communities look like? What would the people in positions of authority be like? What could I do to see that progress is made on the issues I care about? These are all forward-thinking questions and ones that could prepare us for changing how we look at our communities, the people in positions of authority (elected officials, etc.), and how we look at ourselves and the issues our communities face.
What are the possibilities, and whose responsibility is it?