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Obama's Campaign Chief is Looking for Inspirational Leaders

This article originally appeared on Esquire Magazine - Philippines

Henry De Sio, Jr., former COO for the Obama campaign, is now looking for groundbreaking, inspirational leaders through Ashoka.

“We’ve been in repetition for millennia, but in the last thirty or forty years, we’ve moved out of repetition and seen the rise of individual agency,” says Mr. De Sio. “We have the tools available at our fingertips, that were once only available to a few—I’ve got a printing press now, I can take a video and put it on YouTube, I can be a first responder, I can conduct a business—tools that help us act on our agency. Now we also have the democratization of leadership. That’s causing explosive change, because we’ve moved from a ‘one-leader-at-a-time’ world to an ‘everyone leads’ world.”

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Ashoka insight

The “everyone leads” concept can be extremely intimidating on first glance, but it does not call for  the eradication of traditional leadership altogether; rather, it is the expansion of the concept to recognize the value of everyone’s contributions. This newer framework places a greater emphasis on trust—forming teams around capacities and abilities, keeping information free-flowing, and giving people the space to see their contribution as something of commensurate value to everyone else’s.

“Contrary to what people think about the Obama campaign, that we were about social media and technology, but it was literally a people thing,” says De Sio. “When people ask me what the secret was to the Obama campaign, I always say it’s not what we aspired to; it’s what we tapped. What we saw was the new DNA: an innovative mind, service heart, entrepreneurial spirit, and collaborative outlook. I see it everywhere.”