Ever so often you hear people talk about the side effects of an action they have taken. Sometimes we refer to these side effects as “unintended consequences” or, in military terms, “collateral damage.” Typically the word is used as a way to shrug your shoulders and move on with the primary cause of action.
A lot of Uber drivers making barely enough money to scrape by? Just a side effect of the sharing economy virtues.
Letting someone steal half of American’s private data? Somewhat unavoidable side effects of the digital age.
Increasing discrepancies in the wealth of the top 40% versus the bottom 60% of income earners? Oh well, just a side effect of the way the markets work these days.
Let me call bullshit on this.
There are no side effects — there are only actions and effects. Moreover, we, as leaders in this world, have a moral obligation to take responsibility. We are the ones who are designing these systems (or at least influence them), we are the ones who are building the next paradigms. Moreover, as such we are required to do the hard work and consider all effects our actions have — not just the ones which we like, get us to the outcomes we aspire to and make us feel and look good.
I keep telling audiences around the world in my sessions that the future is unwritten. That it is on us to build the future we want. That we create the world, we want to live in. We are privileged to be in this position. Moreover, with these great powers come great responsibilities.
You can only build what truly matters if you take responsibility for all your actions.