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Our Connection = Our community

318c76f1-3967-4090-a586-076b53783f71It’s that time…

These days test our sense of belonging. So many folks – good citizens all – are finding themselves dropped from the economic landscape of contribution because of our regional downturn.
Now the value of community could be at its greatest.
I just spent a coffee with Adrian – the energetic leader of Enterprise 4 Good. We had both recently returned from PEI and Island BC respectively.
The contrast between those environments and Alberta is stark to both of us. Not uncommon: two opposing pickups stopped in the middle of the road in PEI, windows rolled down, drivers catching up if the afternoon sun. No end of topics – and little concern for the “traffic” – meaning that other vehicles are just expected to go around. Big deal. What’s happening between these two has primacy over someone else’s momentary inconvenience.
A visit to the store in BC is an opportunity – to meet someone new, to learn something. Commerce is the bye the bye for an opening…
Here folks mostly pass each other without acknowledgement. While more courteous than New Yorkers – whatcha want?- we conduct our affairs with dispatch and seldom go past the formal requirements of transaction.
The ulterior message – you don’t matter to me – beyond this moment, this transaction. We don’t have any common cause.
The trend is becoming writ large in the body politic. Two huge turns away from the overriding drive to create a global community.
Brexit succeeds. Despite massive expert evidence of detriment to Great Britain, the voters succumb to a message of parochialism, of withdrawal from the European Community, of retraction into a more delimited scope. In order to maintain their purity, to fend off boarders – eg immigrants, to localize economic benefit, to determine more of their regulation in their own country – who knows the arguments that truly swayed. But the summary is – we’re out of here, screw you. “You” become “them”. Those who are against “us”. Even when the economic and trade impact is thought to be catastrophic.
And Donald Trump. I’m not going to speculate if this election will be a runaway for the Dems but the GOP candidate sure tapped a vein of disenfranchised voters. A deep and broadly shared constituency is saying “the existing order doesn’t work for us.” These people feel that globalization has left them out. So they want to reverse all that – go back to better days before manufacturing left, before terrorism. Put up walls, keep the intruders out.
To some extent the recent canadian elections of Liberals federally and New Democrats provincially may reflect similarity of outlook.
Less “we”, more “I”. Or maybe the “we” is more tribal, more local, certainly not one people worldwide.
In creating a strong collective culture, leaders face the same challenge. “Why should i put my faith in distant leaders who claim to have a better way than I do? Who cares about the opinions of “experts”? Why should I commit to follow, and to care, about the version leaders are projecting?
Leaders are out in front of the pack. They are pointing the way. Not on the bleeding edge but the leading edge.
The followers [customers, employees] trust this will be for the betterment of all – specifically including them. In pursuit of the cause…
Leaders of enterprises must solve for this. Otherwise, no followers. No enterprise. And the balance is shifting. Trump and Brexit notwithstanding shallow sloganeering doesn’t make it with the sophisticated people we deal with. They do not fall under the “rapture”.
But watch the Donald. He’s now laying the groundwork for revolution. He’s starting down the classic line all dictators employ. They contend: they lose. They call foul and call on their followers not to allow the outcome to bind them. Then they make a play for the power structures – specifically the military. All in name of all we hold dear – and the betterment of all.
Could it happen? Could we witness such a breach in community at this time. Well – it happened in Britain….
It’s all a long way from the belonging, the security of community, relief from alienation we crave in our souls. We all know we can’t make it alone. Convenience notwithstanding ..
Our job as leaders is to cast a spell of remembrance of real community, where people care about their counterparts – where we all share a common journey of destiny.

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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