116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
OK, I just got hammered with a solid dose of reality.
Get this, just because a person is a business leader that doesn't mean he or she has a clue about local, regional and even statewide ballot initiatives and political candidates.
I just assumed all community leaders were informed about issues, initiatives and candidates. I was wrong.
So what I'm about to suggest may offend some of you, and I'm not going to apologize.
Any good leader worth their snuff will take the time to learn about and understand ballot initiatives and candidate positions before they vote. For all those purported 'leaders” who don't make the effort to understand these things, you're simply a disappointment who tarnishes any labels of leadership.
Here's the quick backstory for my ire:
I am involved with a group to support a local ballot initiative, and when I approached several community and organizational leaders for their support, I was shocked by how many had heard about the issue but didn't have a clue what the ballot initiative was about.
Because of this, they simply were going to vote no.
And to make matters worse, when I casually asked how they were going to vote on candidates, 'straight ticket” was a common response.
In my humble opinion, voting a 'strait ticket” without taking the time to fully understand the issues, political positions and the corresponding social and economic impacts is the lazy person's way out. It's blissful for its ignorance, but not leadership. It's a cop-out.
I can hear it now - 'I didn't understand the issue so I didn't vote.” Six months later that same person will be ranting about the deleterious outcomes as a result of the vote he or she simply ignored.
In fact, I'd go so far to say that an uninformed vote is almost as bad as a no vote, and therefore a person who is uniformed shouldn't complain about the results.
I believe part of being a good community leader, business leader and organizational leader is, to a certain degree, to be obligated to get informed and be knowledgeable about issues, candidates, opinions and outcomes.
Getting informed doesn't mean listening to idle talk over the water cooler between a bunch of one-sided fear mongers. It doesn't mean the person with the loudest voice, most money, least money, saddest story, or fanciest title is always right.
Perhaps the worst resources are the sponsored media, talking heads and political pundits who thrive on hyperbole and dubious polls, surveys and supposed 'experts.” These are the sources that stoke imaginations with controversy to inflame extremists and boost their ratings and personality profiles.
Getting informed requires research and listening to unbiased facts from both sides of an issue. Yes, I said both sides of an issue, and verifiable facts not just opinions.
Empathy and wisdom result from understanding the pros and cons, the causes and effects, and the outcomes and consequence of ballot and election decisions.
I recommend checking out these two not-for-profit websites:
l www.AAPOR.org, the American Association for Public Opinion Research.
l Alex Taylor is associate director at the University of Iowa's Tippie School of Management, email@example.com. Twitter handle: @ataylorataylor