If there’s a silver lining in today’s polarizing political landscape, it’s the increase in activism that is sweeping our country. With intensity unseen since the protests of the 1960s, citizens are standing up for their beliefs in record numbers. Marches, protests, and rallies are a daily occurrence, covering issues ranging from gun control to equality to fundamental public safety. While unfortunately divisive and angry at times, I’m heartened by people’s willingness to stand up for their most passionate beliefs. To take action. To do something.
Yet in the business world, the courage to confront our most pressing obstacles too often stalls at the water cooler. It’s far easier to complain to colleagues than take a stand when the risks range from embarrassment to job loss. But keeping our noses clean and our heads down is itself an injustice. It robs our organizations and us the ability to adapt, course-correct, and ultimately soar.
If we can become activists related to our civic duty, why not take the same action as it relates to our companies and careers? Let’s carefully examine what’s calling for our help – from customer experience to product design to go-to-market strategy to improving manufacturing safety. What are the things in our organizations worth fighting for? The biggest opportunities or the most pressing challenges demand our full engagement and commitment.
Standing on the sidelines and pointing fingers benefits no one. When working conditions were intolerable in the early 1900s, passionate labor leaders took action by organizing and effectuating change. When unfair trade practices damaged our planet and consumers in the 1970s, environmental protectionists and consumer advocates forced these issues into the national conversation to enact reform. And when new technology paves the way to better serve customers, the most successful leaders and organizations don’t dance around change – they demand it.
Whether it’s an outdated business practice that desperately needs an overhaul, or a new opportunity to deliver extreme value to clients, let’s channel the zeal we’re seeing in the headlines and inject that passion into our businesses. We can skip the polarizing part, but that raw passion and focus can help drive meaningful change in our professional lives.
Let’s stand up and become agents for change, progress, and transformation. Now is the time for action.