I posted this article on my blog today at InspirationErl.com
~ Erl Morrell-Stinson, Founder, Stellar Impact Foundation
Connect with Erl on Facebook at facebook.com/emorrellstinson
There’s a conversation going on in a Harvard Business Review’s group on Linked In, called Impact Entrepreneurs. The question under consideration is whether the social problems of today call for the emergence of ‘Tri-Sector’ leadership (and, by implication Tri-Sector governance). In other words, do we need to create leaders who combine government, non-profit, and business together, in order to solve issues of healthcare, poverty, and so on…?
My immediate thought was, “Why only those sectors? Why downplay or exclude the others?” Still, to argue for others, is to accept the presupposition of the question: ”Do we really need these ‘super-leaders’ to solve our problems?” It sounds to me like clamoring for the rise of a whole army of Hitlers, not just one!
Here’s my comment, just some thoughts on possibly creating a better alternative.
It’s called “Stewardship”!
Comment: Who watches the watchmen?
The challenge of collaboration between increasingly independent functions of community is one that inevitably plagues any community as it grows over time. All the sectors that rise up eventually institutionalize, becoming independent of the leadership that set them up. Ultimately, they all become ‘a law unto themselves’.
For instance, in any emerging nation, who creates the government? Who appoints the military? Who sets up education? Medical care? Communication? Business? Religion? Social Service? Ironically, all are birthed out of collaboration of the leadership that originally saw their need, in service to the community as a whole. There is an ‘original stewardship’ there, that eventually disappears as the institutions endure.
Unfortunately, that original leadership eventually dies out, and the institution or sector becomes answerable to none. What starts out as serving the community, begins to serve only itself.
Consequently, without this higher stewardship to which all are accountable, sectors that should be in service to society, ultimately begin to compete for greater power over it, each in some way trying to control the other.
Inevitably, there are alliances formed between the dominant institutions or sectors — Military & Monarchy, Monarchy & Religion, Business & Government, Government & Labor, etc. (Lately, Food and Healthcare have entered the fray.)
As far as I can see, the answer will be for social structures to emerge, outside of and across all of these sectors, to which all are voluntarily accountable — not by force of law, but a submission of law and government itself, alongside others in the equation, to a stewardship higher than itself.
Furthermore, this cannot be another institution, organization, or governing body … for this would be to repeat the same mistake, only at a higher level. It would create a social Hydra of epic proportions.
To endure across generations, and to be kept in it’s proper place of stewardship and service to society, it has to take the form of an ongoing conversation between the leaders and influencers of each sector. This would be a forum into which the emerging leaders of each new generation could step in, and participate and a point of relevance for their time.
Power would not be over society, but all would strive together, if not for consensus, then at least collaboration to support each other in building what is best for the community,
Sovereignty would be maintained in each sector, without business lauding over government, or government over labor, or religion over government, or any other combination of one sector over another. The discipline over any sector would be by the force of community as a whole, not by an institutional ruling body.
In this way, stewardship of the whole would be restored to the people who created it, not relegated to one part only, that does not have the interests of the others at heart.
The answer is not to create Tri-Sector leadership, of Quad-Sector, or (x)-Sector of any kind. That kind of thinking still perpetuates the empire-minded model of previous centuries, and seeks to “rule over”.
What needs to happen, is to restore the original conversation, stewardship, and mindset that sought to serve the society of which it was a part, for the good of all.
Okay, that’s the idealism. Realism? It starts with an individual change in both mindset & heart, to look after the interests of others, as well as your own. It requires us first to model for ourselves, teach our children, create a culture, and raise up leaders with the ethic of Stewardship towards all, and to think in terms of the larger systems, rather than our own silos or self-interest.
That shift can only be birthed, maintained, and eventually achieved, out of conversations like this one. Now, how do you turn a conversation like this, into a movement that changes history?