While many people seek to “change the world” by gaining power through political or economic means, Blair notes that the people who actually inspire change are those who give their power away. “I believe we are all powerful in our own way,” he muses. His organization works with young people across the world in an effort to make governments more accountable. “We help people generate accountability from the bottom up, through guiding them into realizing and channeling that power,” he says. He believes this system will help change governments.
Citing his film school in Liberia, Blair explains how marginalized people often have more power than they realize, “We often look at [them] from a Western perspective, which is not always the most accurate.” Through his work with the film school, students not only find their voices – they discover creative outlets for it.
This output inspires change through the creation of educational videos, such as a recent PSA which highlights the country’s sexual harassment problem. “Giving them the power to articulate their voices helps spark discussions on how to improve policies on both a micro and macro level,” he says. The group has even started Integrity Idol, a series where regular citizens nominate honest government officials. After the nominations all trickle in, people are able to vote for their favorite, authentic official.
While some people often pair accountability with consequences, Blair looks to celebrate integrity, posing that it’s “not necessarily a consequence for things going wrong, it’s a celebration for things going right.” In terms of corporate application, he also believes that leaders should seek to create “integrity idols” within their own organizations – “Companies must champion these values. It can shift the culture of an organization.”
He stresses that it’s important to discover what your team members are interested in and find ways to incorporate accountability in an authentic day. In Liberia, he regularly works with rappers in order to promote positive messages, but in their own voice. “You have to help them recognize the power they already have.”
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