Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What is leadership and where did it go?

In general, leaders gather information run it through their filter or archive of personal experience and understanding then make a decision. Great leaders do this in a way that is inspiring to those that they lead. The decisions resonate and followers are inspired to take action to create the leaders vision through their own personal effort and sacrifice.

It is widely thought that charismatic or inspirational qualities possessed by these leaders play a critical role in their call to action and the outcomes they create. No one can argue that an idea or concept that is well communicated is more likely to succeed. However, a crummy idea is still a crummy idea even when it is expertly communicated. It is the quality of the thinking and the synthesis of the information into a sensible and inspiring solution that motivates a commitment to action.

So what is it that undermines our ability to take action to solve our most pressing problems. We have some smart and engaging elected leaders. Let's take just one issue, energy. Why is it that our "Leaders" are unable to gather the data, filter it and develop a solution that will inspire us to take action and solve the problem.

We have many alternatives available to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and be less harmful to the environment. With strong leadership we could begin a wide scale implementation of alternate energy sources. Our only need is for some one to create the vision and motivate the action. So what's the hold-up? Where are the leaders? There's a problem and it's called the Constitution.

I was listening to public radio a few days ago and the "evil" electric utility company in Florida wants to erect 6 or 8 wind turbine generating units on company property adjacent to a fossil fuel generating plant. I thought how great is this but then the story continued. It seems the environmentalists are attempting to block the plan. Let me run that by you again, the environmentalist are attempting to block the plan. It seems an environmental group fears the wind turbines will be harmful to wildlife in the area. Now I can see birds but they listed lots of other animals including nesting sea turtles. I have an idea, let add Santa's Reindeer just for good measure. So a really good idea has been side tracked and will probably be derailed because the wind turbines might hurt the animals. Has anyone thought about what the fossil fuel plant might be doing to the animals and on a wider scale our air and our water which we breath and drink. Would it perhaps occur to them that the wind mills might be a good interim step to cleaning things up? Take a minute to add-up how may solutions to our environment problems have been opposed by the environmentalist. Go figure, they can't even agree.

I can only suspect that this happens thousands of times in this country each month. This country has come to a screeching halt in finding meaningful solutions to serious problems because our Constitution gives voice and power to tinny little competing self interest groups. These freedoms are critical to our society but the resulting gridlock produced by all these competing voices is crippling our country. They certainly have the right to speak but do our leaders have to listen? Yes, yes they do and our electoral system makes it necessary.

Our leaders have become closely aligned with special interest groups and detached from their constituents or one reason, money. It costs lots and lots of money to get elected to any office in this land and the special interests are eager to contribute. Take all the people in special interest groups and add in all the people who are not in a special interest group and you have the constituents. For those of you who were taught the "new" math in school that totals up to all of us. All of us is the group our elected leaders are charged to serve and they are not doing it. They owe their office to a multitude of tinny special interest groups, their votes and their money. The rest of us don't have much influence. There is nothing new here so If you're looking for "new" news I'd suggest you check-out the CNN blog.

There are intelligent people in both political parties. They are brilliant at working out compromises, that's what politics is. But even these smart people cannot come together to find meaningful solutions to the tinny groups with the great big voice that have frozen our country problem. The result is been a limited freedom for our leaders to articulate meaningful ideas that would motivate us to become part of the solution and strengthen our country for the future. They can't be the leaders our country needs them to be because of the promises they have made. They can't serve their constituents (all of us). The system is broken and we're making very little progress for our children and grand children as a result.

There is an overriding good for all of us in this that must be found and articulated into a sensible and inspirational solution by our leaders. They are not getting it done and we are losing ground as a nation as a result.

This is about as idiotic as it gets in my opinion. It's like thinking we can get rich by borrowing money from foreign governments. Crap, we're doing that too. Keep reading I'll be offering other gross over simplifications of major problems and issues in the future. None of this is easy.

Thanks for reading.

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