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In the Wake of ANOTHER School Shooting: What the (Leadership) World Needs Now Is…


I know that’s what many of you are thinking I’m going to use to fill in the blank in the above title. After all, that’s how the song goes, right?

Up until last week, in fact, I may well have said that love is all we need. On some level, I think there’s a nugget of truth to that idea. I do believe that using love as a guiding, grounding force can solve so many of the world’s challenges. Standing in a place of love – not the sappy kind, but the genuine, open-heart kind – helps us to be in discussion and dialogue, it helps us to draw meaningful boundaries, even as we build connections. It helps us to relate to one another without becoming doormats OR bullies.

As much as it pains me to say it, however, I don’t think we as a species are quite ready to stand, sit or otherwise operate simply from love. We haven’t figured out collectively how that looks.

So we cycle through the problems and challenges that have plagued our society for so long. We allow things like school-shootings to go virtually unchecked – and by “we” I’m talking specifically about the United States here (even though I’m Canadian) – even while recognizing that such tragedies happen around the world. Look it up. It’s not isolated to one area of the globe.

And, I want to be really bold and say that the frequency with which it happens ANYWHERE isn’t actually the issue. I don’t want us to get trapped by that red herring, because even one incident of this nature is too much.

Instead, I want us to look at what’s truly needed here. And I want to be bold and say this: what’s needed – what the leadership world needs now – is courageous action. Action anchored by clear vision. And ACTION is the key.

Whether we’re talking on a global scale about war and mass shootings; or in a smaller leadership sphere about things like policy change or new fundraising initiatives – the fact is, nothing will change without ACTION.

In the wake of the recent shooting in Florida, there has been an avalanche of thoughts and prayers winging its way around the globe. As a spiritual person, I believe in the power of prayer. And, I have learned that prayer – or talk, or visioning sessions – in and of themselves are not sufficient. All of these are important, for sure. And they must be supported by courageous, bold action.

So what gets in the way? What stops us from taking action?

Fear that the challenge is too big.
Fear that the solution is elusive.
Fear that one might be mocked for suggesting a new course or direction.
Fear that one might meet resistance (you will, trust me).

What I am realizing is that as real as the fear is, as leaders we must step past it. We must take our visions, our ideas, and our wisdom and transmute these into action, even if that action looks like baby steps.

And so, I want you to ask yourself, what’s the challenge that’s presenting itself right now in your world? What’s the bee in your bonnet? What’s fueling your ire?

Whatever that is, on whatever scale – education reform, global warming, world violence, workplace systems and structures, family dynamics – what is the ACTION that you can take to steer things towards a better way?

Once you’ve identified that, surround yourself with allies – rest assured, you can’t do it alone. And then, start the action process. Take your vision, put it into action, step by step. Anchor it in love, for sure. And know that love is not enough. What the world needs now is more than love – it needs loving action.

Tracy Harvie