A Call to all Baby Boomers . . .

(Several months ago I wrote this blog after the anti-capitalism riots in London.  As a result of the Occupy Wall Street movement across the globe I think its message may be even more important, so I am reposting it again.)

A Call to All Baby Boomers . . .

‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.’ –  Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act III, 1598.

The years between 1946 and 1964 produced a remarkable generation, the post-war Baby Boomers, who have made substantial positive contributions to the world economy, science, society, music, the arts, technology and in many cases, leadership.  While those born in the earlier years tended to focus on business, technology and economic progress, the later years (the hippie generation) focused more on civil rights, social equality, openness in government, anti-war (especially the senseless war in Vietnam) and ecological sustainability.  Some how these two groups, very different on the outside, share a common belief in the values of accountability and a long-term view of making things better.  This group, more than any other since, have strong beliefs about individual freedom and social progress and also the courage to stand up and bring about real change.

Fast forward to 2011.

I believe it is time for the Baby Boomers to become activists again.

America and our globally connected world needs mature, level-headed, cause motivated citizens to speak out again.  To take a stand against the excesses of corporate greed, against the selfishness of elected officials, against social injustices, against environmental abuse.  Sure many of us are at or near retirement age.  You could even say it’s not our fight any more.  Let the younger generation take the lead.  I’ve done my bit.  I’ve earned my time off.

If these were normal times that point of view might be acceptable. But America and the world is facing unprecedented challenges that threaten our future economic, social and environmental welfare as a global family.  And what makes it more important for these two groups to get active again is the fact that there is a growing undercurrent of anger and resentment that could explode into damaging chaos.  Witness what is happening in London.  The anarchists have fueled the growing unrest in the British society and unleashed a rage of destruction.  That’s not reform.  That’s anarchy for the sake of self-gratification and hatred.

I am afraid that if experienced, mature adults don’t take a stand, then the haters, the anarchists and the sponsored terrorists will divide people and communities and damage any hope of social and economic reform.  The world will be re-acting defensively instead of acting progressively.

Why should the aging Baby Boomers and Hippie generation stand up again?  Because they know how, have been there before, understand the effectiveness and responsibilities of the political reform process, of peaceful protests and are mature enough to help bring about sustainable change. If there was ever a time for positive activism that draws people together, it is now.

Unless we force a meaningful debate and open dialogue, the future that we Baby Boomers worked so hard to create could disappear.  My only real concern is that too many Baby Boomers will sit on the sidelines and bitch instead of taking the positive activist route.  Which are you?

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

E | john@johnrchildress.com      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is currently Visiting Professor in Strategy and Culture at IE Business School in Madrid and a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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4 Responses to A Call to all Baby Boomers . . .

  1. Ted says:

    I’m a firm believer that the current movement is nothing more than spoiled children wanting to have a wet nurse step in and feed them.

    Like

    • Ted: I believe that if we look closely at the people who are active in the Occupy Wall Street movement we will see a great cross section of all ages and levels of economic class. Some are spoiled and looking for more handouts, while I believe many others are concerned that greed and special interest groups are usurping the principles of accountability and hard work that is the fundamental foundation of progressive capitalism.

      Like

  2. Tim says:

    An old line JB & I used to use with senior leaders was “Time to guide, not lead.”
    Next gen needs to lead, but we need to be there to ‘guide’.

    Like

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