Friday, April 30, 2010

Somewhere Between Theory and Reality

“Drill, baby, drill.”
Don M., Englewood, Florida
Letter to the Editor, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

In October 2008, I happened to drive past a crowd gathered on a downtown street in Sarasota, Florida. The held a variety of signs calling for the opening of Florida’s coasts, to within 3 miles of the beaches. Drill Baby, Drill went their chant.

We all know about the collapse of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the resulting damage as hundreds of millions of gallons of oil and methane have gushed into the Gulf.

A theoretical belief in safe oil drilling (It must be clean technology, I can’t see it harming me…) is very different than the reality that began washing ashore in 2010.

Some leaders seem increasingly isolated from long-term accountability, and more focused on short-term profiteering. The dichotomy between an advocated position (Drill!) in theory and the resulting outcome (Damage!) can create unintended consequences. Let’s see how this plays out in other aspects of American society:

  • Major corporations outsource work to foreign workers yet expect a local economic recovery as millions remain unemployed.

  • Banks advertise the success of their products, while simultaneously and secretly betting their own finances on an opposite outcome.

  • The Federal government borrows billions from China to offset excessive spending while declining to improve the current tax structure or enforce collection.

  • Politicians proclaim war, without proclaiming any way to pay for it, worsening government deficits.

  • Recipients of Medicare (a government healthcare program) oppose government healthcare programs.

  • I want my cake for free, and I want to eat it too.

We all know life doesn’t work that way. There is a spiritual, emotional and financial price to pay for our collective misbehavior. The truth ultimately wins out. We, or our communities, ultimately pay the tab.

An experience generation values the experience that “connected” leadership can deliver. This type of leader has first-hand knowledge of the situation, is committed to any actions he/she takes, and does so while demonstrating compassion for her team, her followers and her environment (community).

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