Old MacDonald’s Farm: Growing a New Crop of Leaders

Here is your opportunity to join a new effort designed to grow a new type of leader for new times.

For political and business leaders in America, the onset of the 21st century has brought with it a millennium of change and challenges. Politically and economically, the world is now a different place than it was as the 20th century drew to a close.

Today every point on the compass portends crisis and conflict that is difficult to delineate and even more challenging to resolve. Believe it or not, as perplexing as the political world may be, the business world has become just as convoluted and confusing. That’s because the American economic system has been at war with itself since the start of this century.

It was not so long ago – in simpler times – when top and bottom line growth (no matter how achieved) was the only objective of business leaders. The simplicity of that model and the abuses it perpetuated has caused the very fiber of the business world to unravel. As a result, we are now trying to figure out how to climb our way out of “The Great Recession.” Everyone now accepts that the same will never be the same again and if we as a society are going to effectively respond, it is incumbent upon us to grow a new type of leader who can respond to new times.

It is my pleasure to be associated with a group Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm.  This group is dedicated to growing a new type of leader. Traditionally our society attempts to grow leaders by planting the hybrid seeds of ethics and leadership skills into an individual at a young age.

This group believes it will take more than the traditional concept of being ethical and more than the classic traits of leadership to emerge as a new type of leader who can be successful in these new times. What new leaders will need to do is to absorb all they are taught regarding ethics and leadership and then take it one step further. Doing so will enable them to break away from the crowd to become an exceptionally effective and successful new type of leader.

While we have learned all the rules of ethics and the traits of leadership, what has not been taught – and what Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm seeks to impart in a new generation of leaders – is how to go beyond the basics of ethics and leadership in a way that allows them to be merged into a new system and philosophy of ethical leadership.

Here is what I mean.

Traditionally being an ethical leader means doing the right things that are required to be done. However, to meet the new times we face, being an ethical leader means doing the right things that are not required to be done.

It is no coincidence that companies that operate under the aegis of ethical leadership consistently perform better than those that don’t. It does not mean that competing companies are managed by leaders without ethics, but only that those with ethical leadership traits are able to outperform on every business level.

Some may not fully see the payoff for ethical leadership, but just like consistently scoring only one shot better in a round of golf creates a significant difference in results over time, the evidence is everywhere in the business community that ethical leadership, as defined here, does make a difference.

For example, every year Fortune magazine surveys and then rates the top 100 companies to work for. Not surprisingly, analyses of the companies that achieve the “Best Place to Work” list share common traits, each springing from the wellspring of ethical leadership. Each company has developed a cultural environment that goes well beyond the standard of ethics an employer is expected to offer an employee. This activity is not limited to simple salary and benefits but reaches to the very heart of a motivating relationship between an employer and employee to create a place where people really want to work and contribute.

Many see the results of ethical leadership but have never been taught to understand it or trained to practice it. Old MacDonald’s Ethical Leadership Farm seeks to change that dynamic, offering ethical leadership programs for grade-schoolers through high school and college.

And the Moral of the Story …

Leaders and companies that exhibit traits of ethical leadership operate in a constant, consistent, respectful, parallel and open manner. They are willing to share the success of the organization with those who helped achieve it. Ethics does not require that they do this, but they do it anyway because they fully understand that for every inch they go beyond the norm, they will always be paid with a foot, even a yard of a more harmonious, successful business.

The objective of the Old MacDonald Ethical Leadership effort is to fill in the gap between understanding ethics and learning to be a leader by discovering how to combine these attributes in a way that will allow individuals to become an ethical leader who will stand out from the pack.

And your opportunity? If you would like to learn more about this groundswell effort and how it might help you or others become more effective leaders by becoming ethical leaders I encourage you to visit and explore the Old MacDonald web site. Go to www.ethicalleader.net.

Let us know what you think.

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