We live in the “Zero era”: zero meditation, zero training, net-zero impact, zero debate, etc. All of them evoke the idea that by reducing our efforts and resources we will maximize the output, therefore, within a results-driven approach coming from a new mindset and paradigm of living faster, although effective. A truly revolutionary approach that also may be applied to the current leadership crisis. The diverse types of leaders at the global level turn to become rusty, excessively active but no tangible results, and in some cases without zero impact in terms of political stability, in the end, global peace. The world is not achieving stability in the long term and is directly related to the very essence of leadership rather than multiple crises in itself. Polarized and biased leaders incapable to create synergies even within the same center of power suppose a total failure on Sustainability standards and a need to revisit the traditional meaning of leadership and build a new one free from old patterns of weakness and excess of Media exposure.
Through our analysis we have repeatedly stressed the fact that we live in a world hit by multiple crises that are claiming for a new leadership able to tackle crises of this magnitude from a new shape of thoughts and innovative mindset. However, all the answers are focused on tackled crises from the same leadership style.
The current status of powerful, although ineffective leaders are not contributing to peace becomes of not updated and partisan mechanisms of doing politics.
Despite all the skepticism that the Agenda 2030 may create because of its nature of “framework” –without delivering strategies and specific actions- represent the correct lenses to enter into sustainability, without ideological bias and a global approach. Living each Nation free to move forward through their own system printing with a sense of ownership.
Leadership is key not only to carry forward the necessary changes at the system level, but also to adapt to each culture and national needs by connecting the dots and make of SDG17 “partnerships” a must-have in any action -national and global- lively and active as an engine for changing traditional structures.
Political leaders, especially those that look powerful and charismatic seems not to fix in the current scenario that demand a global power and a charisma focus on integration approaches towards interconnected international relations; going from financial to environmental, from politics to humanitarian, from leaders to citizens –without ideological prejudices, just a citizen´s approach better updated to the current challenges-. However, and even if “charisma” seems to be an asset for successful leaders I have serious doubts that are key for thriving but the capacity to build charismatic relationships instead. Is not exactly about powerful leaders although within the power to construct a new network of leaders that are aligned with a common goal on sustainability in its most expanded concept. Is a controversial idea for those against globalization and a global concept of leadership. However, is it not globalization the reason for ineffectiveness but a no focused leadership on a results-driven strategy that contemplates the impact of the different crises ‘nature. Looking at the national crisis from a strict local perspective without global context is not part of what may be considered a wise leadership, certainly is not about a few powerful leaders, but different groups of leaders that address their crises from innovative perspectives able to connect with other polar groups, creating synergies by sharing know-how-the latest its particularly relevant for COVID19-.
The power to build a resilient network relies on a different global leadership acquiring a new dimension when seeing under the idea of Union of Nations rather than institutions. Looking at the last challenges and achievements from European Union, BRICS or/and the USA, in terms of leadership give us a clue that we enter a new era, although not with new leaders. It does not create a comparative advantage to keep traditional leadership standards within a scenario of totally brand new challenges.
A political leadership creative and innovative demands a new accountability system perfectly aligned to a global system, not necessary to global institutions but to a strong national commitment towards global sustainability. We may conclude that the global institutional crisis is also about leadership. When there are no resilient leaders, or better said, without the capacity to influence positively is when different –negative-interests surges, and we face an era of decadence in terms of global political stability.
That and entire region like the Middle East is still going through a deep crisis in all aspects-political-humanitarian, armed conflict, etc.- is a sign that all efforts coming from United Nations are not enough and are claiming for a solid institutional change. When an institution of the relevance of UN is not delivering is it because of a lack of political will?, not innovative enough?, a Security Council that becomes too biased and rusty to deliver peace to the world? Any of the answers suppose a deep analysis of pure leadership. Institutional reforms would be ineffective if there is not different accountability and certainly a system that is able to “block” any attempt to get stuck among two or more powers. A counterbalanced system does not erase the possibility of confrontation but certainly, it guarantees a new system that keeps the balance at minimum standards. Decentralizing power should be one of the main goals as well as giving power to citizenship. A way out also for nationalist attempts that center their critics precisely on the loss of sovereignty merged in a centralized institution that is not leading the planet into successful results.
The Sustainable Development Goals approach for and by Nations is not precisely the best mechanism to generate accountability and may dilute the power and make them ineffective. If we analyze the internal system to make the goals harmonically connected we realize that there is only one cross-cutting issue: leadership.
All the Goals search for their own meaning and sense of leadership for whom they are essential leaders for each of them as:
No poverty: global leadership
Zero Hunger: global leadership
Good health and well-being: citizens and public leadership
Quality Education: academic leadership
Gender Equality: women leadership
Clean water and sanitation: public leadership
Affordable and clean energy: political leadership
Decent work and Economic growth: private/public leadership
Industry, innovation and Infrastructure: private/public leadership
Reduced inequalities: political leadership: global leadership
Sustainable cities and communities: community leadership
Responsible consumption and Production: consumers and industry leadership
Climate action: multistakeholder leadership
Life below water: private-public leadership
Life on land: global leadership
Peace, Justice and Strong institutions: academic, citizen and public leadership
Partnerships for the Goals: political and civil society leadership
The global and political leadership looks like the main driver, although it is important to avoid the partisan/ideological process and print it by global senses to get a successfully coordinated input from a holistic approach. Making sure that it is based on a global system of accountability and transparency in political terms. All Nations submitted to the same standards, although from different approaches and actions. When systems of transparency and accountability fail, the political arena is transformed into a “Roman circus” in which the citizens are the warriors instead of the lions. The show created by political marketization makes leaders look like warriors but there are just playing with citizen´s expectations. Hence, it becomes key to integrate citizens into the political process and open them to society instead of reducing them to a political struggle that in many cases ends up into a zero-sum game.
It’s for all the above that developing a new concept of leadership erupts within a historical dimension and new patterns. The transversal axis for SDG´s is precisely leadership, no charismatic, no hierarchical, not necessary powerful in individual terms, although within the power to make changes in the short term from political processes without ideologies, from partnerships without bias, from a global mindset adapted to national needs, within a realistic patriotism and a sustainable focus.
A Zero leadership that leads the power of the society within revolutionary alliances that unite beyond institutions and with institutions –reshaped, transparent and accountable-, beyond individuals and with individual approaches “on board”, beyond politics and with a political -no partisan- approach that allows connecting global-national without conflict.
Simply…Zero Leaders, 100% accountable, transparent, results-driven.
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