Leadership needed

By Todd Cohen

North Carolina faces a crisis in leadership.

Huge social problems confront us, yet we lack leaders with the vision and courage to help map and push for solutions.

Politicians cater to special interests and cannot see beyond the next election or gimmicks like the state lottery.

Business executives are stuck on the financial bottom line.

Academics cannot see beyond campus.

And nonprofits hop to commands barked by foundations.

So social progress depends on the emergence of new leaders.

Leadership-development programs abound in our state.

Whether they have a local and statewide focus, leadership programs increasingly aim to equip people to see ahead and work together for the common good.

That kind of leadership is critical to overcome the timidity and divisiveness bred by our current cultural and political wars, says Barbara Goodmon, president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal.

“We don’t plan in North Carolina,” she told a leadership summit convened by Peace College in Raleigh. “We need to look at the big picture.”

Seeing the big picture requires reaching out and listening to people with different points of view, finding common ground, and then pushing hard to realize that shared vision.

Anything less will fail.

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