Key Point: “But now,” says the Once-ler, “now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

– Dr. Seuss, The Lorax. 

Just one wonderful thing about having a 5-year-old grandson is the opportunity to snuggle up with him in a big leather arm chair, and watch a “kids” movie (like Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.) The iPad and iPhone are out of reach. It’s just him, Dr. Seuss and me. The Lorax has many messages worth reflecting on; greed, purpose, exploitation, the environment and much more. But I think the heart of the movie is prefaced by the adverb, “UNLESS.”

The challenge inspired by the word “unless” hits me on the noggin literally every day. While I never want to absolve others… Management, governments, or any other group from their obligations, things only become better for us because of what we do individually. And the root of much of what we decide to do stems from whether we really care or not. It is easy to wish for something but ultimately one has to really care to inspire action for change. 

I recently watched Stanley McChrystal (four-star general, former Green Beret and top commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the U.S.,) present to a packed auditorium of Stanford MBAs. The message was about leadership and at the core was McChrystal’s view that leadership is not about talent or a gift. It’s about choice. It about caring and UNLESS you and I determine what to actually focus our efforts on, nothing really changes.

Character Move:

  1. Watch The Lorax. If you can, watch it with a kid. Let yourself wonder what “seed you want to plant and grow.”
  2. Give yourself some quiet time to reflect upon what you tell yourself and others when discussing what you really care about. Then check how much you have devoted to your “care.”
  3. UNLESS you care… Really care… And choose to act, nothing will be better for you on that matter. Recognize that caring… Really caring… Is hard work. 
  4. And deeply caring and acting on something with conviction is true leadership. 

UNLESS in The Triangle,