Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Time is Now for a "Groundswell" Mindset Among G-8 Leaders

Let’s hope that the G-8 leaders are listening to a younger generation of advisors and more seasoned pros who are strategic thinkers. Based on media reporting so far, they seem stuck in the past unable to grasp that it’s time to be inclusive, let alone on trend with the pressing global issues.

A “groundswell” mindset means the balance of power is no longer within the G-8. It’s more than G-13 and G-20, as Canada's former Prime Minister Paul Martin lobbied so passionately for. Solutions to our complex world issues will be derived from connecting people with people to discover an array of ways forward.

That means the right kind of engagement forums and processes with the right players at the table. Leaders of all other kinds of organizations are well aware that if they don’t involve the individuals and teams who do the work and who will be most affected by executive decisions, the big issues will remain.

“Groundswell” is defined as “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations” in the book of the same name by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. On the simplest level for political leaders, whose decisions matter so much for our collective well-being, they must broaden their reach and take advantage of blogs, wikis and social networking. Their “IQ” as a team will increase exponentially.

The showstopper is ego. Can each and every one of the G-8 leaders get beyond pride in their own ideas, protection of their power, and fear of the unknown? Creativity beckons. Innovation is at their door step. To use Jim Collins’ terminology from one of his books, the time is now to go from “good to great”.

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