National leaders have failed. It’s time for local leaders to rise to the occasion.

Most of us know but few have the guts to say: national leaders have, for the most part and particularly in Europe, failed! While there are still certain things we should expect from national leaders, we should rely more on local leaders, whom are often underestimated. And local leaders should step up, rising to the occasion. Marco Magnani, Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, published Creating Economic Growth: Lessons for Europe (PalgraveMacmillan) after having spent the last few years studying Europe, growth and leadership. We have talked about these topics several times in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I must say that these excerpts of his books summarize also my point of view:

“At a time when actions to revitalize national economies are often frozen by political bickering and paralysis, people of action at the local and regional level can step in to make an economic impact. Local people – elected officials, business leaders, and citizen leaders—can rise to the occasion to implement a low-cost set of actions to spur growth. Six are the recommendations for revitalization: build assets of local development; unleash and stimulate entrepreneurial creativity; foster innovation and research; leverage cultural resources and creativity; make the most of cultural diversity; and champion social mobility. As globalization intensifies direct competition between locales, a power shift from the national elite to local citizens, in government, corporations, and nonprofit institutions, can reverse today’s economic malaise.

The challenge of the day for local leaders, would-be leaders, citizen movers and shakers, and trailblazing businesspeople is to step into the breach as ad hoc leaders to restore economic dynamism to local and regional economies. Local leaders can and should encourage national leaders and influential policymakers to take action that will improve the economy at a countrywide scale. But they should not let that persist as a reason for waiting to make productive change at the local and regional level. From the bottom up, as ‘outsiders’, they can set an example of stimulating economies on their own.”

Time to step-up, time to roll up our sleeves and take direct responsibility. Each citizen can be a leader in its city or locale.

Some more details about the book:

Creating Economic Growth: Lessons for Europe (PalgraveMacmillan, Marco Magnani)