We Don't Need 007
It’s the season for commencement addresses. I ran across this one given by Pierce Brosnan, also known as James Bond. Something about his ideas seemed to resonate. Here is part of what he told graduating Dickinson College students:
If you want to save the world, you don’t need to be James Bond. We need people from different disciplines and walks of life, who are willing to work together and who can rely on one and other. People who will push forward, united. We need people who have a passion and a sense of a mission. We need people with the courage to create.... we need you.”
It occurred to me that his is what America needs in our next president. We need someone who will unite us, demanding that we work together. Someone who will be a team-builder instead of pretending to be James Bond. Someone who will challenge us with the idea that America is depending on us instead of “only I can do it.” Our next president needs to lead by reminding us that it’s America’s goodness and the strengths of our beliefs that have made us a great nation and it’s following those beliefs that will keep America great.
In the 2020 election,we will select someone utilizing an imperfect system, but we are not powerless. We need to select the individual who has the leadership ability our country needs. Leaders get things done, while politicians seem to get sidetracked with party affiliations and platforms. It’s clear that politics are preventing progress despite agreement. It may be worth selecting a president that prides himself or herself on their leadership capabilities rather than solely their party affiliations.
Think for a minute how important it will be to have the right leader for America.
In 1990 President George H.W. Bush decided that Iraq’s aggression toward the Saudis would not stand. He took the case for action to the United Nations. The resulting Security Council Resolution 678 detailed a coalition of 35 countries led by the United States. It’s likely that the Gulf War could have been won with the U.S. acting alone, but Bush’s approach brought a swift and certain resolution delivering a strong message from the entire free world.
Some of our greatest presidents are remembered not for brilliant policymaking, but because of their leadership skills. According to The Harvard Business Review, while it was ultimately Lincoln’s decision to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, he allowed cabinet members to give ideas on how best to give this message to the public and when it should be issued. He allowed his cabinet to debate these issues and this ultimately built a feeling of “being heard” among his group.
While we are not privy to all of the current President’s conversations, it is evident that his sentiments highlight his own ability to make change, rather than the power of working together.
I think Pierce Brosnan is right. James Bond doesn’t exist. Bond operates in an imaginary world, while we live in the real world where getting people to unite and work together is the key requirement for success. The founders structured our nation with three seats of power designing checks and power balances. Clearly, they did not envision an all-powerful agent with unlimited power.
Organizations big and small thrive or stumble because of who defines the path the organization will take. In today’s world, leaders build partnerships in order to “win.” For example, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates were able to bring success to their respective organizations by surrounding themselves with people with different expertise who could help them achieve their goals; they did not work alone. As Steve Jobs said in another commencement address, “Great things are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” This is to say that whether it be a small organization, a large company, or a country, it is essential that the person in charge is willing to work with those around them to reach their goals. We need such a leader for America.