The other week I did a keynote for a large group of executives from a well-known multi-national corporation. I spoke about our challenging times that require us to rethink our responsibilities towards ourselves and towards others. I based my talk on the concept of „Interconnectedness“ which says that “everything anybody does affects everybody else”.
After my speech I spent quite a bit of time discussing with my audience about the role of leaders in organizations and in society. But it was this one leader’s comment that stuck with me – because it devastated me.
This executive had come to praise me for my speech and he was quick in letting me know that he subscribed to everything I had said 100%. He went on assuring me that he believed in the need to raise awareness about interconnectedness and the need to be the change you wanted to see in others. But then he went on pointing a proverbial finger at society, at politicians and at his company’s board of management as the responsible group to enable this change. He concluded by saying that he, too, would be driving a more interconnected mindset in his team and across different teams – well, if only his boss would let him.
Clearly, this “Leader” had been taken hostage by his very own self limiting beliefs. Even though he had realized that something had to change he still looked for other people to do what he could be doing just as well.
I remain convinced that individuals can be taught to rethink their responsibility vis-à-vis others.
And if I want to improve the world I need to stop pointing the finger at others, believing that someone else is responsible and expecting that someone else will act – I have to work on my own awareness, my own mindset and my own behaviors. This journey starts with me!