The Decision Maker in the 21st Century

Manufacturing—building tangibles—has led and fed the economies in the 19th and 20th centuries.

There were a few originators, but most people were followers. Obedience, implementation of rules, and top-down management were the orders of the day.

What drives our 21st century? The creation and distribution of information. Rather than compliance, initiative is required.

People rarely will work for one company all their lives. Increasingly, many people are now working as independent contractors instead of working for others. The number of individual entrepreneurs is continually growing.

People in their twenties are planning their retirements forty years in advance because they no longer believe that traditional retirements will suffice in their older years. The society of the 21st century requires initiative—not merely following someone else's plans for retirement.

Society is involved in complex social relationships, both personal and professional. Work and social interactions are increasingly collaborative. Authoritarian approaches no longer work. The bride's reciting the traditional matrimonial ritual of promising to obey the husband is rarely heard. Compliance is out; collaboration is in. And this requires new ways of dealing with others.

The overriding characteristic of the 19th and 20th centuries revolved around who made the decision. Similarly, the overriding characteristic of the 21st century revolves around who makes the decision. A prime difference is that the THE DECISION-MAKER HAS CHANGED.

Too many schools and parents are still using an obedience model – Level C of the Hierarchy of Social Development.

Society has moved to Level D and we as teachers, leaders, and parents have a responsibility to prepare the younger generation for the society in which they are now residing.