Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Crisis of Leadership

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. John 10: 11-13

Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 1-3; John 10:1-23

A friend of mine on Facebook posted this article from the Wall Street Journal yesterday. In it, the author suggests that there is going to be a huge economic crash in 2011 because Obama is not going to extend the Bush tax cuts. The rationale is that since the wealthy are aware that taxes will increase significantly next year they are taking all of their profits in 2010 to avoid it and will have a higher percentage of their assets in non-taxable entities come 2011 and beyond.

Based on this logic the author argues that 2010 economic numbers are deceivingly high and the 2011 numbers will be exceptionally low causing a double dip economic hit…


Ok, there are are a host of other reasons why the economic could tailspin in the future but he has a point. However, there is something inherently problematic here. Aren’t these titans of business and Wall Street the same folks who led us into this recession in the first place?

You might counter me by saying that Joe the Plummer is going to do the same thing but let’s keep it real, the average investor is not savvy enough to make this move and their assets are not large enough to really move the needle here.

This is about the fat cats.

As I followed the news in 2008 and 2009 I couldn’t help but to see the tragic irony in all of this. The same people who got us into this mess were the folks we relied on to get us out of it.

For my not so economically literate friends out there let me make a comparison that illustrates the point.

So we’ve got this oil spill going in the gulf right? It’s not so fresh.

But who are we relying on to fix the problem? THE SAME PEOPLE WHO CAUSED IT!

This is what makes the problem so frustrating. We are angry for the screw up, we are infuriated by images of oil soaked wildlife, and to add insult to injury, it is all the more infuriating that the firm that caused the problem is best suited to solve the problem.

Long after the oil leak is plugged and the news cameras stop recording the wildlife and the communities in the gulf will remain mired in the muck caused by this catastrophe.

In both the oil spill and the economic meltdown the leaders who caused the problem knew that they were engaged in reckless behavior. And in the end, regular folks will have to fit the bill.

We need to really think about the folks that we put in places of leadership. Are they good shepherds who will work tirelessly to make sure that their organizations benefit society as well as their bottom line? Or are they bad shepherds, who are all about the cash until the wolves, of their own creation, send them running for the hills with their profits in tow.

The biggest problem that we as a people face today isn’t the economy or our rapidly deteriorating environment. Our biggest problem is our crisis of leadership.

QUESTION OF THE DAY!: What are the characteristics of a good leader? What are some examples of good leaders and why? They can be from history or your personal life. Let's figure this out y'all!

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