Monday, October 17, 2011

BIG’s Blog: A Uniquely American Reaction

Something is clearly happening in our country and it is purely American.

This past week, I was traveling on client business. I don’t know about you, but, I can really concentrate and think clearly on planes. It must be the white noise.

I had just read Peggy Noonan’s Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled, This Is No Time For Moderation and then I read Tom Belford’s The Agitator blog entitled, Who Are The First Movers? In the space of time on one leg of my journey, the two disparate columns merged into a single insight that I want to share with you.

I’ll let you read each column, but here is my synthesis and insight that I gained from merging the two themes. We are all passing through a very significant “moment” where great change is starting to happen so quickly we can see and feel it.

Peggy Noonan points to the Republican Presidential debates and the Occupy Wall Street protests as social reactions to the selfishness and dishonesty on both Wall Street and in Washington. A consensus is coalescing around the fact that both are at fault and real change is needed and is coming. “Moderation is normally the American mood, and good thing too. But maybe on the economy we need something bigger – something more fundamental and dramatic – to get back the old dynamism.”

Tom Belford points to a recent article about idea merchant and author Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Blink, etc.) who says when it comes to innovation . . . don’t be first. Tom juxtaposes the nonprofit fund raising industry today against the cautious tact suggested by Malcolm Gladwell and asks, “Who gets the ball rolling? Who are the first movers? Personally, I don’t believe in sitting back and waiting.”

Both Peggy Noonan and Tom Belford are reacting to completely different issues, yet they are linked – the problems with our economy and the problems in our fund raising industry – in the moment we are in today in our country.

In both areas, we face turmoil and the economy, due to selfish and dishonest actions by the leadership on Wall Street, and in the government in Washington. And, in the fund raising industry there is turmoil due to generational shifts, technological changes and increased competition for donor dollars. And it’s all happening now and we live it and feel it daily in our guts.

So what’s happening?

The worm has turned.

We’ve hit a moment as citizens and professionals. We are determining as citizens to change the direction of our government and economy, though this will play out through the election cycle for another year.
But, we’ve also hit a moment as professional fund raisers where we realize incrementalism or inaction are not the traits that built our successful institutions. In this moment we are called to action.

When the real threat crystallizes, both are uniquely American reactions.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers. 

No comments:

Post a Comment