Let me start with the following statement: Leaders don’t need to be perfect, but they need to show up.
By now, a significant number of Fortune 500 leaders have provided some sort statement of about the killing of an unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police. This incident sparked nationwide protests to dismantle systemic racism in this country. This, in turn, sparked looting and destruction of property, which sparked a militarized response, which ignited “prayer-tests”, dancing in the street, drum circles, and public displays of reconciliation — you see where I’m going with this… this leads to our first leadership lesson.
Leadership lesson: Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. (A.K.A. The Ripple Effect)
Some of these corporate statements were heart-felt, emotional and perfectly imperfect, like the CEO of EBay, some where generic boiler point (and these are being “called out” ferociously on social media), and some were distinct, ‘no holds barred’ calls to action. Case in point, the founders of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, educated their consumers on the “legacy of slavery” and outlined a concrete 4-part plan to “dismantle white supremacy.”
Leadership Lesson: Leaders take risks.
Some corporations pulled out their checkbook.Bank of America announced $1 Billion/4-year commitment to support economic opportunity initiatives. Amazon pledged millions to racial justice organizations.
(Let’s not stop there: I invite Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos to make a powerful stand by paying a living wage and providing a safe environment so his employees feel seen and heard.)
Lessons Learned: Leaders put their money where their mouth is…
But money doesn’t solve the problem…we need to change hearts, and you can’t legislate, bribe, or mandate righteousness, which leads to my next lesson:
Physical world results are meaningless without their spiritual world counterpart.
Spiritual world results are meaningless without their physical world counterpart.
I invite us all to take a long, hard look in the mirror. What do you see? How’s your heart?
And finally, How are you choosing to show up in this time in human history?