Wishing those that celebrate Christmas a Blessed Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza (it’s the 50th Anniversary this year of this newest celebration of Family, Community and Culture) and a Peaceful and Happy New Year 2017.
Friday night I was at an annual holiday party. Among those present, were people I worked with years ago. Two comments, made by the same former colleague, stand out and have gotten me thinking. One recalling a meaningful conversation with me more 30 years ago that caused him to miss a call from his then boss, and acknowledging the importance of a rare substantive dialogue at work. He later commented on enjoying reading, what he called, the thoughtful and substantive commentary in my blogs and newsletters, which he reminded me of late have been few and far between. Since I had been thinking of writing this holiday season, his comments energized me.
“Where have all the flowers gone?” What has happened to us? Our ability and willingness to listen and hear what another is saying and respect divergent points of view has deteriorated.
The Christmas party I referred to earlier has been held for more than 25 years. Usually a festive occasion, this time the party was different. The turnout was smaller. Most of the people present, I believe, were delighted with the prospects of a Trump presidency. A few of us were not, and were discussing that fact. Some deciding they could no longer be friends with Trump supporters. I commented that one of my closest friends supported Trump and we’ve worked hard not to have this fracture our friendship, and deep caring for one another. At one point the hostess came over, realizing we were not engaged in a conversation of merriment, she tried to shift the energy. It didn’t work and I realized people that had been friends with her for decades suddenly thought differently about her.
I leave you with a few questions to contemplate as we close out 2016 and spend time with family and friends this holiday season. What have we done????? How did we allow the primary season and presidential campaign to sink to such a low level? What have we taught our children about professional behavior? What is the role the Presidency? What is the role of business in a democratic society? What is the difference between government and business? What if anything do we give up if we stand by and watch business take over government?
My hope for everyone this holiday season is that we take a breath and slow down –sounds silly doesn’t it amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but it can be done. Advent is a season of waiting and watching. So, I ask you to think about the country you want to be proud to live in? What type of government do you want? What safe guards do you want people to have? What do you stand for? What does our country stand for? What do we want to leave our children?
Once you have reflected on these questions I ask you to take another deep breath and ask yourself what you can do differently so that you can engage in meaningful discourse with others so that we can revisit the values we believe in.
Those who know me personally know my passion is the world of work. I help owner managers of small and midsize businesses, and executives of large corporations create conditions where everyone thrives-the ultimate win/win mindset for employees, managers, stakeholders, customers and the communities in which business is conducted. How can we put aside partisan rhetoric and begin to speak to one another about what this country was built upon? Our future depends on it.