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  • The Week: What I Think I Think

    Our greatest problem might be that we have the wrong people trying to solve the problem.

    Every Sunday, I look a back on the week’s events in a new series, “What I Think I Think.” It’s my commentary on the week’s events and how they might affect Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals members.

    I think the economic issue is bigger than we think. I’m not talking about scale, because contagion has the potential to make this current financial

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    event (debt and downgrades), one that is a gamechanger, but the issue I’m concerned with is not so much economics entirely: its leadership and performance.

    The real problems are twofold.

    First, I don’t believe that global leaders are looking at world economies and debt through a collaborative framework, because we have these eclectic – some bordering on eccentric – reactions to this crisis, as opposed to sound, immediate and proactive responses. Our leaders seemed panicked and surprised, which tells me that they have not done the due diligence and have not been invested as they should in the catastrophic conditions this issue presents. Most global leaders are watching events unfold in real-time like the rest of us, which is antithetical to their responsibilities.

    Many of the global economies have very similar  issues of “debt exposure” – yes, debt is a major problem: but growth even more so. Global leadership is focusing on debt, which they should strategically plan for and remedy through stepping-stones and milestones, but the only way to address debt resolution is through growth: more specifically – jobs.

    Jobs will help populations live again through self-determination, they will drive consumer demand and they will create additional revenue for governments through more tax money.

    We need a global jobs plan – one that is somewhat collaborative: that looks at the gaps and opportunities within current economies and creates a best practice template to calm the markets. The plan should be based on how to incentivize hiring through public and private partnerships, a focus on infrastructure and research and to stimulate economies through developing the a sensible balance of growth and demand. Global leadership should calibrate the import-to-export ratios they will need to stabilize their countries, while spreading more goods around strategically, until troubled countries meet specific revenue and stability benchmarks.

    Secondly, which I think is the bigger issue: we don’t have leaders that have ever needed to perform and “win.”  We currently don’t have global leaders that have had to distill a complicated issue,  execute through limited resources, align and validate human capital needs and extrapolate a  desired result, or face serious consequences for their failure. We are counting on world leaders, who’ve really never had to solve real problems – who’ve never really had to execute or be held accountable through performance, so our greatest problem might be that we have the wrong people trying to solve the problem, which is a big problem.

    When you look at the current global leadership: very few of them have run any business of any kind, and right now we don’t need people that exhort: we need those that plan, overcome obstacles and deliver results, which is a unique skill, not one in abundance on the world stage presently. The world needs leaders that can develop a vision with an endgame: those that can strategize how to bring their vision to fruition, how to implement tactics and execute like hell – to meet timelines and budget requirements, and do this through the demands of rigor, urgency and continual change: unfortunately, that’s not what our current leaders do, yet that’s exactly what we need them to be to get us out of this mess.

    I am hoping that the middle and lower-classes stop assigning their destinies to a leadership that remains inoculated from the consequences of the rest of the population, because their remedies will always be those of comfort and placation, as opposed to revolutionizing the ways we think about our economies, our labor situation, about innovation and about “power,” which makes me think that world populations must stop waiting on their leaders and do their own business. Global people must now develop their own plans, and find ways through collaboration and concession to get back to work, and independently develop measures to stimulate their local and national economies and job growth.

    If you insist on waiting for a savior in this crisis: you might be waiting until you’re out of options completely.This might be the one time, where in this scenario, the doctor is more patient than doctor. Don’t panic, but move.

    Good luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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