What Public Problem Are You Working To Solve And Why?

When faced with this type of question, how would you answer?

I was recently challenged with this very question when applying for a fellowship. I appreciate this type of question because it causes us to think and to state who we are and what we are all about. I feel strongly that many of the obstacles and challenges we face as individuals and leaders – which can always be felt throughout all types of organizational culture – is our inability or lack of willingness to identify, clarify, and articulate our values and sense of purpose. Why is it so difficult for so many people, leaders, and organizations to state their purpose? It’s kind-of a loaded question isn’t it? The answer to the question is certainly relative to the individual and can be multifaceted so, I am going to dig into only one aspect.

I believe that many folks are simply unwilling to be held accountable to the standards (or perceived standards) of their own belief system and worldview. In my opinion, that type of thinking is rather narrow and besides, if you create your worldview and belief system, can’t you also shift or adjust if you are compelled to do so in the future? Maybe that’s one opportunity for us all to let one another off the hook. If we are willing to adjust our worldview when appropriate and when faced with new evidence – who cares if we are being held to some type of perceived standard? We learn, we adapt, we shift, we change….again and again. If you have a fixed or rigid approach to living or leading, of course this will be a little challenging.

Here is my answer to the question AND…..I want to be held accountable. If I stray or get stuck, call me on it.


What Public Problem Are You Working To Solve And Why?

I want to challenge and change the traditional leadership model and the manner in which people and organizations lead. Leadership as a concept and action is often under defined, misunderstood, misrepresented, and misapplied. The traditional leadership model is based on the notion that: people are expendable, we are in constant competition with one another, it’s us vs them, growth at all costs is acceptable, and that success is measured solely by the metrics of sales and profit – top and bottom line.

This type of thinking accompanied by the methods used to accelerate short-term results has generated: unsustainable gains, a mindset of fear, threat, scarcity, burnout, emotional distress, and a staggering loss of social, organizational, and civic engagement (see Gallup and Pew research on engagement). As a result, we have lost sight of: the common good, equity, ethics, dare I say – morality (in a secular sense), purpose and meaning, collaboration, flourishing people and organizations, and resilient leadership.

I propose a new leadership model grounded in strengths, relational connection, emotional intelligence, engagement (a systemic issue in all sectors – social, cultural, business, organizational, and institutional), purpose and meaning, resilience, a growth vs fixed mindset, positive emotion, ethics, virtue, and fairness. I also advocate for a ‘new’ metric of success. The new metric measures success by “our positive impact on others.”

I am certain positive leadership is the pathway towards: robust collaboration, innovation, regeneration, restoration, equity, balanced and ongoing organizational results, and sustainable social progress. My purpose is to champion the advancement of positive leadership and flourishing organizations.

Thanks for reading and…..Lead on!

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