The Joy of Sharing Power

Powerful Americans

I loved this story in the New York Times over the weekend.

It’s not news that most people with power in the United States are white and male, but I really appreciated the way Haeyoun Park, Josh Keller, and Josh Williams  described the power:

  • This is  who decides “which movie ideas come to fruition.”
  • These people – in the music industry – are “the most elite decision makers”
  • These are “among the most influential in deciding which books get published”
  • These are the “people who decide which television shows Americans see”

And of course the Ivy League University Presidents, Corporate Elite, and Members of Congress are mostly white and male.

Full disclosure:  five of my favorite people in the world  – HH, FBC, SBC and my brothers – are white and male.  I’m not talking about bashing all men or all white people.  I’m talking about sharing power.  It’s not only the right thing to do; it makes life interesting and creative and real.

I am a person with (a bit of) power.  It’s both heretical and boring to try to stockpile it.

Let’s think about power in your life:

  • Who, in your school system, gets to decide which teachers are hired?
  • Who, in your community, gets to decide which small businesses get licenses?
  • Who, in your congregation, gets to nominate officers?
  • Who, in your denomination, decides who gets recommended to plum positions?

All of us with great or small levels of power have the opportunity to consider expanding the pool and giving fresh talent a shot.  Whether we are talking about who gets to take the class hamster home for the weekend or we are talking about who gets funding for a new church development – most of us have some power to share.

Ordinarily, we pick our friends or familiar faces when we have an opportunity to share. But what if we considered those who are talented, creative, and not connected?   What if we cleared the way for people who are not male and white to have the opportunities that people who are male and white often have?

I’m not talking about quotas.  I’m talking about bringing in unconventional, unique, fresh talent.  I’m talking about giving new people a break.

It’s actually a selfish act to do this, because  – when we broaden our perspectives – we become sharper and more innovative.  The world becomes better for it.

Let’s share.




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