Greetings. Pete Seeger was an American original. Truly American and truly original. A man whose music and life struck at the heart of what has made our country remarkable and struck at the gaps that keep us from reaching our full potential. His passing leaves a void, not just in the world of folk music in which he was one of its most popular and hopeful voices, but in a society striving to be as caring and hopeful as possible. Many of you will remember some of the songs he wrote including “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” which have found their way across the world.
Pete Seeger believed in the power of music to bridge divides between people and places. He also believed in the dignity of every person, the importance of protecting the environment, and the necessity of conscience in standing up for the things that matter. I’d like to think that whatever our politics are, we all see these as essential (American) beliefs in our civic, social, and business lives.
In fact, I would guess that all of our companies and organizations would be much better off if more of us viewed life and the world with the gift of Pete Seeger. More people who believed in:
The value of every employee.
The need to appreciate and protect all of the resources we use.
The importance of standing up for what is right and holding ourselves to a high standard.
The necessity of finding the right song to bring people together in order to make a difference.
And I would also guess that all of our companies and organizations would be much better off if they had more people who brought new ideas and perspectives to the work we do and the challenges and opportunities we face. Ideas and perspectives that would cause us to cast a wider and much more inclusive net, stretch our thinking, and imagine more powerful and more collaborative possibilities.
We win in business and in life when we dare to sing together. And when our very nature is to stand up for the things we believe even when it isn’t always in our own best interest.