Umair Haque’s blog post ‘The Builders’ Manifesto‘ is an outstanding read. He surmises that ‘leadership’ is to some degree a by-product of a dying industrial era. Leaders of today know how to govern and navigate what are essentially 20th century organizational structures and economics. As we transition from industrial to information age, Umair sees a future that needs a rethink from the ground-up and thus requires a different skillset than your typical leader. Ironically, one of the better leaders / US Presidents of our time Bill Clinton penned the moniker ‘Building a bridge to the 21st century’. Yet, even Clinton himself is a mere cog in the wheel of that old leadership paradigm and wasn’t so much building a bridge but rather attempting to lead people across a fictitious one. Much in the same way that Haque contrasts Mahatma Gandhi (the builder) vs Barack Obama (the leader).
Today’s builders are igniting the distant grandchild of yesterday’s industrial revolution: an institutional revolution for a post-industrial world. They are forging the new building blocks – from ethical investment, to deep journalism, to socially useful finance, to universally accessible communication – that a rusting economy, society, and polity so urgently demand.
The 21st century doesn’t need more leaders – nor more leadership. Only Builders can kickstart the chain reaction of a better, more authentic kind of prosperity.