Ten years ago I found myself in a tiny music club in Dakar, Senegal. It was tightly packed with locals whom had come to see the regular Thursday night show of musical icon, Youssou N’Dour. As I sat there eyes closed, swaying from side to side, I was taken to another place, the energy around me was so palpable you thought it might ignite, and the music, the music was transfixing. Youssou had this ability to take you to another place, imagining a world of endless possibilities. As a twenty year old American living on the African continent for the first time, I imagined that the world was getting smaller, that together, we could change things. The following Tuesday was September 11th, 2001. The night of possibilities all of a sudden began to feel small and insignificant. And the next ten years were filled with language and action based on fear, othernesss, and polarization.
Last week Yousou N’Dour put in his bid for the presidency of Senegal.
I believe we are at a moment in time when we are ready to reignite our human connection, our potential, our music. Something is happening around the world, we are waking up and demanding a new type of leadership.
Youssou is obviously not the only example of a calling for a new type of leadership. We are seeing this everywhere. The Arab Spring has shown us that archaic power systems can be broken, occupy wall street has asked the world to reevaluate how to interact with one another, and double bottom line philosophy is dminishing the polarizing divide between the business and the social sector.
It is clear, the old leadership model, where hierarchy ruled, knowledge was controlled by the elites, and people were waiting for someone to tell them what to do (Check out “Drive” by Daniel Pink if you don’t believe me), is breaking, shifting, shattering. Right now we have an opportunity to help a new type of leadership emerge.