When things are broken… A CALL FOR LEADERSHIP

The hatred and disrespect surfacing in the debate about health care reform and education and other discussions in recent days has gone wild. Much of it isn’t about these topics, but something more disturbing — a real contempt for others — an unwillingness to consider anything new and different. I keep wondering how our children will be influenced by watching the adults, serving as their role models, as they invest in passions that result in spewing hate and disrespect. After all, our children do look to all of us for LEADERSHIP, yes?

However, as I worried about these realities on a morning walk, I came across these poppies sprouting from a crack in my driveway. An over-powering cypress tree broke it. As I looked at them and snapped a photo, I had this revelation…

When things are broken, sometimes it makes way for something new and remarkable to emerge. d.k.

Being the CHANGE as Gandhi challenged us to do…
Changing all that’s broken isn’t easy. We are all witnessing it, experiencing it, and living it. It asks more of us, don’t you think? It involves listening more, thinking through, re-evaluating, and starting with an openness that only comes with a “beginner’s mind.” As I wrote in my book, Putting Our Differences to Work, being asked to fundamentally change the rules in how we think, act, and operate as leaders may seem to be a tall order for many of us. At the same time, there is something familiar about being called to change ourselves in order to lead the way. In times of both crisis and opportunity, leaders are often asked to reinvent themselves; to redirect their attention in some significant way in order for them to champion a transformation of some kind. This is one of those times we’re being called on to put our differences to work to forge a new path.

In my own leadership life, I recall another poignant time in history when I was reminded that it is the role of leadership to pioneer new trails, so others will feel safe to follow. I’m still moved by what a senior leader said to me about why I was one of those being called to lead the way when we were going through a major organizational transformation. “You have been invited here at this time in our history—because of all you’ve enjoyed.”

It seems the needs for change are calling us in a similar way today, because of all we’ve enjoyed. We are the ones—the leaders, the innovators, the aspiring leaders, and individual contributors that will plant the seeds that will mend the broken places to make way for the remarkable results of change to emerge for the good of all. Hold that thought!



Debbe Kennedy
founder, Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies
author, Putting Our Differences to Work

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Dannielle Blumenthal

Hi Debbe,
I enjoyed reading your post and agree with you that leadership is critically important and also that we need to be the leaders we seek. As I see it there are two things that get in the way of leadership. One is the tendency to distort, blunt, shade, or blur reality in order to make oneself, or the organization one is associated with, look good. A real leader tells it like it is (or at least like he or she sees it) without worrying about feeding anyone’s ego. A second is poor communication. No matter what the issue, a genuine leader is able to explain both sides and then say where he or she stands and why. These are things that I try to do myself and that I appreciate when others do as well.
Have a nice day,
Dannielle Blumenthal

Debbe Kennedy

Dannielle, I agree with Dr. Tesser! Enjoyed your insightful perspective…well said! You are so right about “the tendency to distort, blunt, shade, or blur reality…” As I think of great leaders I’ve experienced, they seem to practice a kind of BIG self-assured leadership that has room built in for appreciating and acknowledging others’ points of view, achievements et al, as well as a genuine curiosity and interest in understanding and learning from the best in others. I’m with you in striving to model these behaviors.
Thank you both! — Debbe

Debbe Kennedy

Hi Gerry, Glad to find you too! It is wonderful how we can discover one another through social media in ways that would never have been possible. I’m also a Jim Collins fan! Like how you expressed it. Agree that it is about the work we have ahead — our collective and independent actions and influence will be the catalyst. Even with all the noise, there are a lot of us out there working to clear the brush and lead the way. Hold that thought! Thanks for sharing your perspective and for finding us! Debbe