Tomorrow Never Knows

Does anyone in charge of a major institution know what they’re doing?

Obama misunderestimated the Republican Congress’ willingness to go all the way with monolithic obstructionism

The Solicitor General (i.e., the government’s attorney) flubbed both the health-care and Arizona arguments

Jamie Dimon looked the other way while $2 billion flew out the door

Seems like only John Roberts seems to have a clue anymore how to get things done. (And what a cost!)

Phil Buchanan is making a valuable set of arguments on the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog against blind importing of “business thinking” into philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, which Albert Ruesga has picked up and elaborated on in his inimitable way.

I’ve spent a decent amount of time working with foundation CEOs, and even aspire to join their ranks one day. It’s sobering to contemplate the challenges of leadership in a globalized, politicized, post-recession world. What’s that William Goldman famously said about Hollywood?

“Nobody knows anything.”

I was in a work-related conflict once that centered on control and who had it. A mentor advised me, “you should feel for that person, because the truth is, nobody’s in control.”

And this may be the most important reason the superstitious application of business thinking is dangerous: because business ethics are…what, an oxymoron? I’m with Albert and Phil Cubeta, our work has to have a grounding in some sort of moral tradition. There has to be a way to do that without falling into the trap of moralizing, of wanting to impose one’s vision of the good life on others.

And maybe that’s the challenge of leadership in a world where nobody knows anything and nobody’s in control. To find a clear patch of ground and stand on it, even as the winds buffet you. Let it blow.


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One Response to “Tomorrow Never Knows”

  1. The Blog Briefly Known as "Democratizing Philanthropy?" » Blog Archive » 3 Years in the Hole Says:

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