November 24, 2014
I recently met with the former head of a major pharmaceutical company to talk about improving the lives of kids. This well regarded executive was excited to invest a significant amount of his time, post his tenure at the helm of a Fortune 500 company, in leading an effort to address youth substance abuse.* I was energized by his passion and fervor for the issue, and his true desire to use his platform and experience as a leader to make a difference. But I was troubled by his orientation towards the leadership he felt was required. “We need to drive these evidenced based practices through the system, from top to bottom," he said. “We need to force communities to understand what’s good for them.” Uh, oh, I thought to myself. Yet one more well-intentioned, influential individual in society who wants to bring about change for the better, but just doesn’t get how social change happens.