Like it or not, the 2012 race for President of the United States is on! No matter your political point of view, there is an air of excitement (if not at least some curiosity) to see who will rise through the ranks of their party as the nominee for President. Of course, the 2012 election will not quite be the primary Bracketology Madness we see every march in the NCAA basketball tournament. The 2008 election saw one of the most exciting presidential races in American history where a host of candidates vied to represent their political party in the national election due to the lack of an incumbent President or Vice President running for office.
Many of us remember the energy sparked by a young State Senator from Illinois during his campaign for US Senator, highlighted by a memorable speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. Only four years later, Barack Obama would become President of the United States of America. Looking back, it was fascinating to learn of the type of leadership that matured him into making successful runs at the United States Senate and eventually, the White House.
Over the past year, there has been a rising star in the Republican Party whose stock may be climbing in a similar fashion as our current POTUS, the Jr. United States Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio. Though Rubio is not making a run for President in 2012, he has positioned himself as a promising leader who has reached out to the people of Florida in one of the most unique and creative ways in recent political history.
Prior to his two years becoming Speaker of the Florida State House in 2006, Rubio traveled around the state hosting “Idearaisers” in an effort to solicit Floridians’ input on ways to strengthen Florida’s statehood. The 100 best ideas were then published in his 2006 book entitled, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future—A Plan of Action, which served as the foundation for his two year term as the State Speaker, before being elected to the US Senate in 2010. What’s even more impressive is that the Florida House passed all 100 ideas. Fifty-seven of which were ultimately implemented into law—a powerful leadership model, driven by ideas for the people, by the people, under the innovative leadership of Rubio, and put into action!
One of the key ingredients to effective Self Leadership or Self Citizenship in any organization or community is the ability of the people to present their solutions and ideas to the leadership of that community—partnering for better performance that serves the greater good. This concept is embedded in the founding values of our nation—where We the People, strengthen our organizations, communities, nations, and world, in partnership with those who are responsible for leading.
What’s really exciting is that Marco Rubio’s Idearaisers are not only rooted in our nation’s traditions, but they are an indicator of what the future of leadership must become. In fact, leadership now, demands a willingness to involve the people they are leading through innovative ways of engaging individual contributors and citizens. Regardless of your ideologies or political worldview, creating an environment for collaboration and partnering for excellence, not only produces great results, it creates a greater freedom and accountability in the process.
Jason Diamond Arnold, Co-Author of Situational Self Leadership in Action