For the past week I have been working with many great organizations and wonderful people in Saudi Arabia helping them build organizational cultures based in accountability.
The other night I was at my business partners home and after dinner he had the driver take me back to the hotel. The driver is from a small town in India. He speaks very broken English and the words he does know are verbalized with a very unusual accent. We worked hard to cobble out a conversation.
Almost immediately the driver expressed his excitement at President Obama being re-elected. I find that around the world people keep up with American politics but what happened next floored me. He said, 332 to 206. I had a hard time understanding what he was saying and when I realized he was saying two numbers I had to stop and think. Based on the context of our conversation I realized that he was talking about the Electoral College final vote. Most of my friends from the United States couldn’t tell you what the final Electoral College tally was and here was a man from India, living in Saudi, and he was sharing his knowledge and insights.
The right to vote is a privilege. Whether in the US or another country, we are fortunate to have a say in who leads our government. There are many countries where this privilege doesn’t exist. When we take something for granted we start to deny our accountability, our accountability to know the issues, our accountability to engage in meaningful debate on the candidates and what’s at stake, and our accountability to actually show up and vote. And, that accountability doesn’t go away even if we don’t like either candidate. We still have a responsibility to be accountable and to be engaged in the process.
Just as we shouldn’t take our right to vote for granted, neither should we take for granted the relationships in our life. As I travel back to the US we are only a few days from the Thanksgiving holiday. Like in the US and Canada many societies and cultures find ways to give thanks for the annual harvest. Giving thanks is our way of showing that we appreciate what we have and that we realize it could be different.
At Thanksgiving in my house we go around the dinner table and share what we each are grateful for. This year I want to give thanks for the wonderful friends I have made around the world. It is these friendships that not only bring great joy and reward to me personally but they position me to be able to continue to share a message of the importance of accountability in our world.
Take the time now to let those people you care about know how you feel. Celebrate your friendships and all of your relationships. This is an accountability that we all have and should never take for granted.