In describing Extreme Leadership, I use a lot of words that have been traditionally written off as soft, squishy, kumbaya stuff by people who think of themselves as hard-core, no-nonsense, business types.
It doesn’t bother me, though, because, frankly, the sun is setting on those folks.
All you have to do is look at the economy in the wake of Enron, Andersen, WorldCom, Imclone, and Tyco (remember them?), followed by the Madoff debacle, the sub-prime blow up and the Wall St. melt down; all you had to do was watch your 401(k) and mortgage evaporate with your retirement dreams, and it should be glaringly obvious that trust and love and values are anything but touchy-feely.
Now, even average people on the street know that integrity and their bank accounts are intimately connected. Because they’ve experienced it the hard way. Trust and love and humanity are hard-core business principles. Well, how about that?
And understanding this, it’s time for us to step up as Extreme Leaders.
Thankfully, the term “Corporate Social Responsibility” has become the buzz-word du jour. So, let’s take ourselves at our word. Let’s make this a new era of love-inspired audacity and set an example of what’s right in business and everywhere else. We have to be audacious enough to follow the examples we respect and challenge the ones we don’t.
Do you agree?
Then I say the world needs you right now. It needs your influence and your audacious action. And your actions will require you to find strength in your heart. Never let anyone tell you that your heart’s not big enough, and don’t believe the hype that the world is controlled by a select few. Nobody controls your world unless you choose to let them.
This is the time to shift the image, behavior, and ultimately, the legacy of business, and you do that through your own behavior and example.
You may not think you can change the Whole World that we live in (and you may be wrong) but you can certainly change the world–small w–that you and yours live in: the world of your company, the world of your employees, the world of your industry, or the world of your family. To deny that is to deny your capability as a human being.
And that ain’t no Kumbaya.