May 21, 2015 1 Comment
In Brian Aull’s book “The Triad: Three Civic Virtues That Could Save American Democracy” you will discover a wonderful approach about how to live in a democracy, any democracy. The FAST Leadership Technique has promulgated a trivium for over ten years now, as well as do many of the world’s great philosophies (eg, Jainism’s Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct or St. John’s Apocryphal Thought, Word, and Deed). Let’s take a closer look.
His apparent and quite admirable goal aims to reverse forces that currently “atomize” or fracture society by encouraging selfishness and focus on possessions. With some Preface material about himself and his background, he begins to frame issues that have arisen in his diverse life growing up in the Midwest, striving to prove that his approach is neither “liberal” nor “conservative”, rather sensible. Indeed his is not an academic book, but common sense reflections that make wonder how our politicians, voters, and other stakeholders have managed to twist such a formidable and promising society as was found in the USA in the 20th century.
He makes an urgent call for change that must be driven by its citizens since our political system is stymied and ineffective (no argument here). His valid concern derives from good people who are waiting for something to happen. Aull’s starting point effectively challenges our existing two-party system by discussing the roles of money in politics, the press, and ideological dogmatism.
He follows immediately by contrasting competition and collaboration in a free market, effectively using the “Gallant and Rude” effects. Properly he emphasizes the need to develop a society with a “collaborative functioning of diverse parts.” Thusly he establishes his thesis and call to action for:
- A spirit of service,
- A commitment to learning, and
- Building community
Next he lays out clear arguments for all three with personal passion and examples in a very coherent and easy to read manner. During his discussion about a spirit of service, he compels voters to elect people with good character, measured by their willingness to make decisions for the common good. His explanation and discussion about what comprises “common” alone is worth reading. As he presents his commitment to learning, some may feel disadvantaged to live the in the USA. His building community discussion provides his most persuasive forum, including the frank revelation that his wife “is the daughter of a marriage between an African American man and a white woman.” The benefits derived from building community culminate his call to service and learning, by putting service (ie, will) and education (ie, wisdom) into activity. Beauty and power result from the proper balance of individualism and diversity and realized through a sense of community.
Leveraging both historical and recent experiences, Aull justifies being virtuous, civil, and free. Yet he makes strong arguments that freethinking individuals display enough compassion that good people are more than human, they are humane. Respectfully he discusses a vibrant market system with a social conscience, offering proof through financial performance of such companies. He calls for smaller government, but one that works closer with its citizens to achieve fairness for those who cannot do it alone, especially the infirmed and the elderly. To accomplish such change he wisely encourages fresh approaches to policy and decision-making that is not obligated to patronage and lobbyists. His explicit recommendations about voting, Congress, and lobbying command close attention.
Aull provides an excellent discussion about Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and the “invisible hand.” Read it, after we quote “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the gar greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” Along the way he dispels many myths about free enterprise, while never stepping on individual rights. Imagine how polluted or air and water would be without appropriate consequences for the perpetrators.
He provides a wonderful definition of prosperity, not as money, but as freedom to accomplish meaningful things without worrying about money. Establishing clear logic he steps into the topic of health care with startling facts. He touches on economics and race issues with highly revealing statistics about slave trade, its long-term impact on the people of Africa, and the wealth created by Europeans and Americans as a result.
Educators will marvel at his persuasiveness to increase pay for effective teachers. Scientists will value his hope and willingness to keep religion honest. Humanitarians will cry for hope, that others read this book, and subscribe to its call to action. You should too.
Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.
Become Part of the Solution—Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership-training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.