S+B: Not everyone is willing to make that kind of commitment.
WHEATLEY: One question I ask everyone is, Who do you choose to be as a leader? What is the contribution you hope to make?
It turns out that very few people answer that they care most about success and personal survival. They talk about doing the right thing for the people around them and helping them get through this time.
This question, Who do we choose to be as leaders? is important because it acknowledges the historical moment we’re in. We have to become conscious and make choices about what we value; is it just our quarterly P&L or short-term results? It would be easier to articulate the more noble contributions we want to make if we were in a more dramatic crisis, like another world war. But in this crisis, we have to find the deeper meaning ourselves. I am finding that many people want to be called on to contribute to something larger than themselves right now, to walk out of fear-based leadership practices — and for me, that’s the best motivation possible.
Reprint No. 11406
- Art Kleiner is editor-in-chief of strategy+business.