“As we look ahead…leaders will be those who empower others.” ~ Bill Gates

Let’s face it everyone: there is a lack of leadership in the black community.

Currently, many believe there is no vision, fresh idea, or strategy that would equip our communities (across the country) for success. And, I want to make special mention of the word vision, because when that’s lacking, people, especially young people, will cast off all restraint and do what’s right in their own eyes. Presently, lack of vision is placing many of our young people in great danger.

So, how long are we going to go without an agenda that would deal with the issues that are devastating our communities? When are we going to realize that African Americans are truly in a crisis and things for us could either go up, with this road of recovery filled with great benefits to our communities; or down, with this road of decline filled with more duress that would take precious time away from a workable solution? Is there an answer to the pressing issues of: high unemployment rates, lack of business ownership, low graduation rates for inner-city students, high incarceration rates for males, and the high number of children being born out of wedlock? Yes, there is. But let’s first talk about the current state of black leadership.

We must acknowledge that leadership in the black community is not something you do as a career. True black leadership is birthed out of one’s burden to serve and is characterized by service to ALL African Americans. I think for too long, many so-called leaders looked at the leadership-game and sensed there was a payoff for them; and due to the low standard of leadership we have had in recent years, there has been a big payoff for many. However, this form of leadership is not going to last due to the arrival of the internet—which will allow new voices to be heard—and individuals who are ready to step-up and lead. Additionally, nothing of significance ever gets done with career-minded leaders. Now, you might ask, “How can we spot this type of leader?” And the answer is: by the books one has authored, and the lucrative speaking career (or other money-making ventures) he or she may have. We must move beyond this ineffective leadership in order to solve our never-before-seen crisis.

Secondly, let’s talk about the cornerstones of leadership which are: knowledge, drafting of a proactive plan, execution of the plan, and the assembling of a competent team around the plan or vision. This is the essence of leadership. Our communities must get beyond reactionary leadership (i.e., marches) and fruitless leadership (i.e., time-wasting panel discussions), as we have found these tactics to be inadequate. The African-American community is in need of plans that have goals, and ways of measuring the effectiveness of the leader’s plan against those goals. Plus, many of these new plans will have to be apart from what the government offers (or in other words, these innovative plans must be founded upon a do-for-self strategy).

So if you want to identify a leader in the 21st century, just simply ask: “Where’s your proactive plan?” If there’s a plan, then that’s a good start to effective leadership. If a so-called leader is not capable of producing a plan, then we have to wonder what their motive really is.

Thirdly, leaders must have a sense of purpose while leading. They must know that the leadership they’re offering is what they’ve been born to do. Financial gain cannot be the primary focus, and service must exceed everything!

When we look back at video-footage of our past leaders, you can truly sense purpose with every move that was made and every interview that was given. Our leaders executed plans, faced dangers, stood on principles, and had an assurance that service to people was their vocation. Furthermore, they were aware of the importance of legacy as their efforts provided a foundation for future generations to build on. Purpose-filled leaders will be the ones that will provide the revolutionary change for our communities, as well as the hard-to-solve problems of the world. Today’s world could never have enough of this type of leadership.

In closing, I truly believe new leaders are being raised up to meet the needs of the African-American community. And the only reason I could even be considered a leader is due to a proactive plan that the Creator has blessed me with, along with my genuine burden to see our communities empowered.

You may view our company’s plan at: as well as leave a comment on the plan and this article. Thanks for reading.

Don Franco is the author of the book, “The FAMDO Way: A Commentary and Solution to the African-American Crisis.”

You may view Don at a Harlem book signing by viewing the following link:

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