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“Change” Americans It Is Time To Step It Up

11 Sep

“By changing nothing, nothing changes.”

-Tony Robbins

With the recent political conventions in the US and constant talk about politicians stance on issues facing the country one thing seems completely clear to me, if we want change we need to create change.  When Obama ran on the platform of hope and change four years ago it sounded great.  Whether you believe in his politics or ability most people can agree that we needed change.  We needed reform.  We needed to strengthen our country economically and socially.  Millions of Americans bought into this ideal only to be disappointing in the lack of results over the past four years.  Those opposed to Obama can say that they knew the change would not happen or would not be positive but that is not the point.

The state of America should not be in the hands of a President, Congress or Senate it should be in the hands of the people.  We live in a free country.  That is right people – Free.  What we do with that freedom is up to us.  We can sit around the living room, watching TV and complaining loudly about this politician or that policy or we can stand up and actually do something.  It is time that Americans remember that politicians are elected by us and it is their duty to represent us.  If they are not doing a good job, replace them.  If they say one thing and do another get them out of office.  If they are unable to come up with ideas good enough to make an impact then we need to come up with the ideas.  Our founding fathers did not fight for our freedom simply for us to behave fat, lazy and entitled.  It is our job to fight for what we want, to demand it.  It is our governments job to listen and to implement the wishes of the people.

Let me be clear this has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats, nothing to do with Obama or Romney.  As far as I am concerned they are just people like the rest of us.  They were not born with vast wisdom or superior knowledge.  They are, or should be, merely a representation of the people.  We cannot continue to blame our politicians for all of our woes unless we are willing to come up with our own ideas, speak our mind, let our voices be heard and replace them if necessary.  The biggest fault with the “Change” message of Obama four years ago was not the message itself but the idea that the change could come from a few.  Change needs to happen because each one of us wants it and we are willing to take the steps necessary to bring it about.

This is an election year and an opportunity for the American people to show what is really important to them and what they are willing to do about it.  News stations are focusing non stop on the campaigns bombarding us with every detail from what someone said in a Tweet to a TV ad.  I am much more interested in hearing what the American people want their country and future to look like than a Tweet from a campaign manager.  Let your voice be heard because at least some of us are interested.

 

Corporations for Social Responsibility and the Civic 100

31 Jul

More and more companies are embracing the reality that they play a critical leadership role in our society.  As employers they have the ability to influence culture internally that promotes civic and social responsibility, volunteerism and raise awareness of specific community needs.  As a provider of goods or services they reach national and global audiences through their branding, advertisements and marketing.  When Proctor and Gamble makes a new commercial it is seen by millions overnight.  When Starbucks promotes a fair trade brand of coffee Starbucks drinkers throughout the world are exposed.  When Verizon created HopeLine every Verizon user received printed information when buying a phone.  The reach of large companies is vast and as consumers we pay attention to what they are doing, even without noticing we are doing it.

With that in mind I am excited for the Civic 100.  The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and Points of Light are working together with Bloomberg News to conduct a survey to rank and recognize corporations for how they are engaged in the community and incorporate those philosophy’s into their culture.

These five business leaders wrote an open letter encouraging S&P 500 companies to participate: Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC and co-founder of America Online; Ray Chambers, former chairman, Wesray Capital Corporation;Mike Eskew, former chairman and CEO, UPS; Bob Nardelli, former chairman and CEO, Chrysler and The Home Depot; and John Pepper, former president, CEO and chairman, Proctor & Gamble.

This is an excerpt from their letter

Having been at the helm of major companies, we recognize the deeper meaning behind President Truman’s phrase, “The buck stops here.” Our leadership responsibility extends beyond ensuring financial success and ethical business practices. We and our associates are stewards of the cities and towns in which we work, and we are responsible for fostering a strong sense of community throughout our enterprises – each and every day. As business leaders, it is we who must grab the bull by the horns, rather than pass the buck, to ignite a culture of corporations giving back.”

Whether through promoting cause awareness, Employee Volunteer Programs, or cash donations corporations have the ability to create a huge impact.  According to the Giving USA 2012 Report individuals in the US gave $217.79 billion in 2011.  By contrast corporations gave $14.55 billion.  Currently individual citizens are leading the charge in charitable giving within the US.  My hope is that initiatives like the Civic 100 will prompt corporations to step up and take a more active role in charitable giving.  Great leadership is required and as shareholders, employees, and consumers we have the ability to support and promote this type of change.  I look forward to reading the results in November.

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