U.S. Budget Crisis and Co-Creative Leaders

I write this as we in the United States are on the verge of a federal government shutdown if our politicians cannot reach budget agreement today. The ramifications of such a shutdown are significant, and will effect many people’s lives. 800,000 federal employees won’t get paid, some people in need won’t receive services, and government facilities will close and not be available to the public.

And check this out: Linda is on her way to Washington D.C. right now to deliver a speech on leading transformation to – of all audiences –  the Treasury Department, which will be cancelled if the government shuts down.

Transformation in the U.S. GovernmentWill America get through this mess? Of course we will. The budge will get resolved, at least on the surface, but the underlying problem will linger, and this should be a deeper, growing concern for all of us. 

The government shutdown is a result of egos run amuck. It is a reflection of our politician’s lower selves on display, not their best selves in action.

Here’s the underlying human dynamic occuring. Ego takes a position, establishes a boundary and does not want to move or compromise. Its position becomes an extention of its self. It ideologizes and makes those not adhering to its position wrong. The “other” becomes the enemy.

The ego holds itself as right, the other wrong, and is not readily open to being influenced. Collaboration is not its first instinct. It struts its feathers, puffs its chest and pontificates its moral positions.

And here’s the problem with these dynamics. Ego gets so wrapped up in this dance, that what is best for its larger community gets lost. Its identify with its self/position as republican or democrat, conservative or liberal becomes more important that what is best for America, let alone the world. It becomes more interested in winning the battle of ideologies and making its party look good and the other bad, than it cares about its fellow citizens. Its political conquest takes precedence over its public service. Of course, ego thinks it is right, and that adhering to its position is what is best for America.

The problems we face in our organizations, our countries and the world, cannot be resolved through ideology and pontification. Our leaders, and all of us, must wake up and become conscious of this continual lower self dance of the ego. We have to look up and across to a larger perspective, not continually focus down and in to our own worldviews. Otherwise, we can never really collaborate and generate the breakthroughs that can only come by our collective, co-creative participation.

The best solutions always come when we take a stand for and voice what we believe, and then open ourselves to listening to others and being willing to be influenced by their input. If our leaders and politicians would do that, then the dialogue would naturally evolve to the best solutions. But when the underlying motivation is ego driven – and we are unconscious of that – at best, we get compromise and marginal outcomes. This political, ego driven dance will end with the budget getting resolved, but whatever the outcome, it will not be the best possible solution.

Where are our co-creative leaders? You won’t find many in government, nor will you find many more in business. I saw research recently that suggested than more than 60% of leaders are not capable of leading. Ouch. This is a deeper concern for all of us.

What dynamics do you see at play in this budget standoff?

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


With this extensively upgraded second edition, Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson solidify their status as the leading authorities on change leadership and organizational transformation. This is without question the most comprehensive approach for leaders who are serious about making change a strategic discipline. Beyond Change Management is an intelligent book by two of the most knowledgeable and accomplished masters of their craft, and it’s one that every conscious change leader should adopt as their guide to creating more meaningful organizations.

Jim Kouzes
Coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge and The Truth About Leadership

Read this great book by Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson and learn how to use their multi-dimensional approach to lead transformation masterfully and consciously!

Marshall Goldsmith
World-renowned executive coach
Author of the New York Times best-sellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

An important move toward a more integral business consulting approach, very much recommended for those interested in the topic and ways to actually apply it. 

Ken Wilber
Author, The Integral Vision, A Brief History of Everything, and over a dozen other best-sellers

Dean and Linda are core to the field of conscious change leadership, and continue to stretch and push its boundaries in this rich and deep compendium. This is a must read from two consummate thought leaders who have devoted their careers to developing highly successful change leaders. Read it and immediately improve your change leadership or consulting success.

Bev Kaye
CEO, Career Systems International
Author of Love 'em or Lose 'em: Getting Good People to Stay

This book is about mastery of leading the transformational change process written by masters of the craft.  For corporate leaders and consultants who consider themselves committed students of the process of organizational change.

Daryl Conner
Chairman, Conner Partners
Author of Managing at the Speed of Change and Leading at the Edge of Chaos

Beyond Change Management is a timely how-to guide for leading change in the 21st century. It provides both a conceptual roadmap, and practical tools and techniques for successfully transforming organizations.

Noel Tichy
Professor, University of Michigan
Co-author with Warren Bennis of JUDGMENT: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls

Once again, Dean and Linda have nailed it! Beyond Change Management is an extraordinary book examining the shifts in change management that have occurred over the years. This book offers real, practical solutions for change practitioners to become extraordinary conscious change leaders.

Darlene Meister
Director, Unified Change Management
United States House of Representatives

Powerful business solutions to the current chaos facing many organizations today. Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson get to the heart of change, the human touch, by using timeless techniques and tools.
Ken Blanchard
Co-Author of The One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level

Having applied this methodology for two years to manage change inside Microsoft, it has been instrumental in our ability to land change effectively, engage employees and deliver results quickly. The Change Leader’s Roadmap allows us to lead change with precision and minimal outside consulting, while at the same time growing change leadership capability internally. This is the most complete change methodology we have found anywhere.

Pete Fox
General Manager, Corporate Accounts
Microsoft US

This newest edition of The Change of Leader’s Roadmap is an invaluable, comprehensive and practical guide for envisioning an organization’s desired future, designing the structures and practices necessary to make it happen, and implementing them effectively. The book describes the change process in nine distinct phases and outlines the activities and tasks that need to occur in each phase. It provides change leaders with an essential map for successfully traversing the complex and uncertain terrain of transformational change.   

Thomas G. Cummings
Professor and Chair, Department of Management & Organization
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California

This is the next best thing to having Dean, Linda and the Being First team riding alongside your complex change initiative. The Change Leader’s Roadmap breeds confidence in senior executive “Champions” to guide not just a successful transformational change, but most importantly, to develop the mission critical organizational CULTURE that will ensure unparalleled return on investment. Nothing I have seen in my 32 years of leading change comes close.

Jeff Mulligan
Former CEO, Common Wealth Credit Union
Mayor, City of Lloydminster

After implementing more than 2000 business strategy and operational excellence initiatives, we set out to find the best change methodology and toolbox in the world. The methodology this book describes is it! Study it thoroughly, because the thinking, process approach and pragmatic tools really work!

Thomas Fischer
Director COO
Valcon Management Consultants A/S

A practical, step-by-step guide for change leaders, managers and consultants. The book provides conceptually grounded, real world, time tested tools and guidance that will prove invaluable to those faced with navigating the challenges of leading organizational change in today's turbulent times.

Robert J. Marshak, Ph.D.
Senior Scholar in Residence
MSOD Program, American University
Organizational Change Consultant