Another Angle on Trump Elect.
By now you’ve had a week or so to digest the shock of the 2016 Presidential election. Some of you are grieving, some relieved. I am steering clear of commentary on the politics in this post and focusing on the election results as a marker of a shift in the way our culture works, a sea change that has profound implications for how you lead your team and navigate your career.
If you want to post comments on the politics of the election, who won, why, who should have, etc., find another blog! I will not be accepting these comments as they are off topic. What interests me is what the Trump election says about power.
The End of Power
In The End of Power by Moises Naim, we find the description of a major transition in our world. Naim’s thesis boils down to this:
In the emerging, networked world, it is easier to gain access to power, harder to wield it, and easier to lose it.
Naim sites examples of outsiders entering and taking over markets. He garners statistics showing that products and leaders stay on top for shorter and shorter amounts of time. From where I sit, the election of Trump proves his point. The ruling elite of both parties, the press, the celebrity class, and many CEOs vehemently opposed Trump. Trump spent 50% of what Clinton invested on campaigning. Condemned by elites, running a “disordered” and discount campaign, he still wins. The impotence of the elite was on display in Election 2016, and it has implications for us all.
Working and Leading in A World Without Power
I had the privilege of interviewing Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes and Scott Stephenson, CEO of Verisk Analytics last month. They each agreed that the top quality needed for our emerging world is agility. Agility is the ability to quickly speed up, slow down, or redirect as necessary. Agility is the key to avoiding being lulled into an elite sleep which suddenly leaves you out in the cold.
With your products, this means keeping a constant ear to your customers so your offerings are fresh and relevant.
With your team, this means continuous development and job re-engineering to keep team members engaged and challenged.
With your career, this means your resume (or LinkedIn profile) never need dusting off because you never let them get dusty. A growing network, a sense of your personal value proposition–the assets you bring to employers, and the pulse of the current market are all keys to being professionally agile in a world where power is in decline.
A Liberating View of Power
In the wake of the election, our Pastor reminded us of the following words:
Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
The world without power is a more tumultuous world. It proves to us the truth of these words and encourages us to keep the center of our trust in God even while we continuously prepare to be agile as we navigate the unstable world of work.
About the Author:
Dr. Chip Roper writes Marketplace Faith from New York City, where he is the director of Marketplace Engagement at the New York City Leadership Center. Chip aims to end what he calls the “stunning silence of the Church regarding life at work.” He is convinced that a central piece of God’s plan for any city or community is the work that people do each day. You can learn more about him here. Chip is available for speaking, consulting, and coaching engagements. Inquire via his email: email@example.com.
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