Wednesday, March 04, 2009


As we continue the world’s transformative change journey, we must understand that the leaders who led us to success in the now exhausted ways of doing things are rarely the people to lead renewal.

Auto industry executives will not lead a transformation to a new energy paradigm. Wall Street money men and entitled bankers will not reform the financial system. Influence-peddling Washington lobbyists will not clean up corruption in our Capitol. If they could provide that leadership, they would have long ago.

President Obama must understand the risk he takes when he chooses Washington veterans for his Cabinet and for leadership roles in his government. Can they see with new eyes?

Traditional Democrats are the “either” to the Republican “or” in the Washington D.C. political game. We don’t need a liberal version of the same old game to be replaced in eight years by the failed conservative model.

We need a new game. President Obama understands this. Can he change the rules for all?

In 2000 Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson wrote a book entitled “The Cultural Creatives”—a group of 50 million Americans who are creating a new culture in America.

Cultural Creatives care about the planet, relationships, and servant leadership. They have an organic, systemic, and holistic worldview. They value authenticity, believe in purpose, and live by strong values. They are idealistic, altruistic, and spiritual—not necessarily religious. They are creative and optimistic problem-solvers; they model new ways to live.

Cultural Creatives, disenchanted with greed, materialism, and status displays, oppose the abuse of rank; inequalities of race, class, and gender; and the narrowness and intolerance of social conservatives and the Religious Right.

They are the leaders for the times. They will provide mature and responsible leadership that will replace what Bob Herbert, columnist in the New York Times, called the “reckless, clownish, shortsighted, and self-absorbed” leadership we have grown weary of.

These new leaders will continue to unite under a shared purpose: to save the world by creating sustainable organizations, a sustainable global economy, and a planet that endures for future generations to enjoy.

The people in this movement created the conditions that allowed Barack Obama to emerge from seemingly nowhere to become our president. He is the externalization of their decades of difficult effort--their reward for the risky and thankless work they have done.

Now our President must free the Cultural Creative leaders within our organizations and institutions across our nation from the shackles of an exhausted worldview so they can lead our collective vision to renew the world.

Time is running out. Our ecological crisis and national decline require an acceleration of natural processes: a conscious and sustainable fast-forward of human social evolution without harming life in the process.

We must think big, move fast, and address all our interconnected problems at once. We must see reality accurately, develop a powerful vision for the future, learn to manage massive change organically, and develop trust in others so self-organization and other natural dynamics of life can burst free from repression and emerge in full creativity.

As we move through this massive reorganization of life no one has a “fail-safe” plan. We live as pioneers who step into the unknown potential of life. We must “plan, do, reflect, and adapt” daily until we find what works.

Creativity is messy and inefficient. Mistakes will be made as we move beyond our knowledge. Not all will be done well. Such is the nature of transformational change. Those who follow can spend the next 100 years making incremental improvements.

We created the world of today that no longer works for us. We can change it.

Tom Heuerman (Heuerman, Ph.D. is a former Secret Service agent, newspaper executive, and organizational consultant. He lives in Moorhead. Email:


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