Treat us as partners

In recent days, we've been talking at length on the topic of Ken Blanchard's "Vision for America" circa 2012.

Blanchard has laid out the first secret that would help our leaders bring America back to a healthy state: Create a compelling vision by knowing who we are (our purpose), where we’re going (our picture of the future), and what will guide our journey (our values). If our leaders had a clear, agreed-upon vision, it would help them set national goals they could focus on. But they shouldn’t try to figure everything out by themselves. That leads me to the second secret.

Secret 2: Treat US citizens as business partners

Basic premise here: the more people know, the greater their commitment to work together to solve problems. I'm reminded, this is what they taught us in my high school Civics class!

As leaders, we know the very worst thing that we can do is not be inclusive on our thinking. Particularly, when we hit a rough spot. Say, for example, we're not hitting our numbers on the sales side. Often times, I see leaders go in behind closed doors to deal with the problem. Often resulting in cuts. This most certainly results in a lot of surprised people when the layoffs come!

That’s why Blanchard thinks that many Americans don’t trust politicians—because they don’t treat the American people as business partners. They don’t share information with us. We know we’re going through a difficult time but we don’t really know all the facts. In essence, we're playing liar's poker with the politicians. Politicians are sitting around Washington trying to figure out solutions to our problems and they haven’t asked us to help.

Our leaders need to do the same thing. Be honest with us. Tell the American people what the issues are and then go to communities around the country, let us know how we can help, and listen to our suggestions. I guarantee you that the citizens of this country have lots of good ideas and are willing to work with our leaders to find solutions for America’s problems.

Jack Bowsher, former Director of Education for IBM, agrees with Blanchard's contention that Washington should treat our citizens as business partners. He argues, “To protect our way of life and our standard of living, we Americans must become more involved in seeking the truth about the key issues that are being debated and voted on at all three levels of our government.”

NEXT TIME: Involving every segment of society to solve our problems