No, It’s Never Too Late To Lead!

A few months ago, an article in the local daily outlined a growing concern. There is a perceivable drop in the quality of graduates (from high school to college). And their level of preparedness for the job market is increasingly wanting.

As I pondered this, my thoughts immediately moved to how this affected society. How a seemingly innocuous process so violently affects the very existence of society. And, may I propose, how that process has had a massive impact on leadership.

This isn’t surprising at all. According to the World Economic Forum’s Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015, a staggering 86% of respondents think that there is a leadership crisis in the world today. I believe that the ‘stickiest’ leadership acumen develops in two institutions; the home and school.

It is here that we all were first socialized. We received our life’s blue-print, culture and way of thinking. Where installation of our basic operating system occurs. That platform colors our present and in turn determines our legacy to a large degree.

I drew two observations from the newspaper article mentioned above.

1. Deficiency of credible leaders

The first is the deficiency of credible leaders in the education sector. Not that there are no leaders, it is just that there are a dime a dozen in such a critical sector! A leader places a higher value in what is right (that which advances others or something) as opposed to just sticking to doing things right (just because that is what the policy says so).

When there us too much focus on fulfilling policy, the goal of an education is watered down. As many now focus only on what will get them to the next level, their passion to learn dramatically diminishes.

But it is misleading when the action or policy doesn’t yield the desired outcome. In this case, it is citizens who are not only astute academically, but in social, physical and moral uprightness too. A culture of thought-leadership needs to be brought back into mainstream education.

Culture is like a rubber band that wraps around the organization. Without a strong culture, the organization would drift apart.” ~Marc Merrill

2. Metric myopia

We have been plagued by the myopia of metrics. Too much emphasis has been placed on ‘passing’ examinations rather than helping future graduates to interrogate principles and engage in discourse of applied thought.

They are not challenged to challenge common knowledge in order to come to their own conclusions. In other words, they have not owned education. It has become a race to who has an ‘A’ (perceived winner) versus who got the ‘D’ (assumed loser).

The future graduates don’t have a cause or passion to latch on to but the type of letters that appear on their certificates. Their identity is short-sighted. It is determined by what someone else thinks as opposed to it coming from within.They become another ‘statistic’.

Business schools are failing to teach students about the risks of market failures. We need to include some material on market failure in the core curriculum.” ~Pankaj Ghemawat

If we were to follow Pankaj’s advice, then perhaps there is hope to overcome cyclic problems. Instead of treating the symptoms with more training (either back in school or on the job), we are inclined to get it right as early on in the process as possible. That is not only efficient, it may end up not being very effective in the long-run.

There is still hope, we can turn this ship back on its course. We can chose to be part of the solution by moving into the space of helping others to rediscover their true calling and passion. You and I have the opportunity to take leadership wherever we are.

My existence has to matter and I have began my walk one person at time and be the difference for that one individual. ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step’. I have taken the first one. Let’s take the second one together.

Are you willing to take the step to lead by example? Click here to share your thoughts in the comments  below.

 photo credit: Tom Wachtel via photopin cc

Certified Professional Coach, Communication Specialist & Author

I help motivated but overwhelmed individuals and organizations regain their purpose to lead so they can focus on what matters most to build a transformational legacy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I appreciate the article. It is a serious topic that needs greater reflection. I do not think it is ever too late (or too early) to lead. I do not think there is a shortage of leaders in the world today – I think we all have leadership capabilities but all too often do not recognize or appreciate that we do. I think the answer to the question are great leaders born or made is yes – we are all born with the capability to be a leader but we become a truly successful leader by honing those skills. I believe we have similar thoughts, and would ask you to look at the book Leadership Is…(dot, dot, dot) (at I think you will enjoy it for as one CLO stated – ‘Leadership will never be thought of the same after reading this book.’
    Thank you for your article. It is quite appropriate and most definitely a serious topic.

    • You are right Bob. The main reason I stepped out of my day job is to help people to discover their ability to lead. To understand that leadership is not having a position, but it is first a mindset. I will take a look at the book you mention. Thanks…