The 60s were magical. It was an era of raucous music and social rebellion that culminated in a revolution of peace and prosperity with politicians and rabble-rousers united in a fight against foreign wars, racism and disparaging wealth distribution. JFK, Martin Luther King and Che Guevara, among others, fought the status quo, challenged the oligarchy and, in the end, were martyred for the transgression of free throught and positve action. In spite of the sacrifice made by these leaders, and countless others on the local and national level, the past quarter century has nearly erased the effects of their profound leadership. Their message of hope for positive change raised a generation of free-thinkers who, on the death of their mentors, were summarily homogenized by the collective gluttony of consumerism, leaving the current generation asking "Where have all the leaders gone?"
As consumerism is down-graded from a national past time to simple survival by a stumbling economy, generations are looking for someone to lead them to the promised land; a proverbial Moses. Our distributed and digital jungle has, for the past decade, prevented us from seeing the changes that were transforming the world around us. Lost in an all-consuming world of web-links, iPods and digital television, finding leaders, and helping them find themselves, requires a unique blend of entrepreneurship and mountain-top guru with a dash of Indiana Jones.
Dr. Karen Stephenson, who was interviewed recently on Smart City Radio, is the founder of Netform.com. A corporate anthropologist, she specializes in helping companies discover and strengthen hidden leaders while advocating for the need to identify and capitalize on the knowledge of the human network. In October 2006 LEADERSHIP Philadelphia released a list of 101 leaders as analyzed and identified by Dr. Stephenson and her team. Over 4800 candidates were identified as possible leaders within the community and, through an online survey, were analyzed to determine their focus on the common good and their ability to be connectors.
Through this process of leadership identification and intensification, strengthening of civic connections, and developing symbiotic relationships, Philadelphia realized that it had the citizen strength to build a better city. (ED: Philly’s idea of ‘better’ and ScaleDown’s idea of better may differ, but the process for leadership identification is still the same.) Chris Satullo, a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, refered to Philadelphia’s leadership, pre-Stephenson identification, as embattled or indicted in an Oct 15, 2006 article. Any casual observer of Windsor city council will agree with the embattled leadership title, which begs the question – Does Windsor have 101 hidden leaders and can we harness these community leaders to create a more livable, sustainable, attractive city? (Hint: Here is the list of connector qualifications)
While we don’t have the sophisticated software or technical expertise of Dr. Stephenson, we, at ScaleDown.ca, want to know who are the hidden leaders in our city. Post a comment and let us know who you are nominating and why. While you are at it, drop your nominee a note and let them know that we’re looking for them, we want them and we need them as we work together to build a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable Windsor.