February 7, 2011

In a 2006 speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., described a moment of powerful inspiration that occurred 15 years earlier when he attended Reagan's 1981 presidential inauguration. "I was trying to decide what to do next," said Roberts, who was near the end of his clerkship for then-Associate Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. "Then he spoke these words and, like so many of the President's words, I felt he was speaking directly to me. He said, 'I do not believe in a fate that will befall us no matter what we do; I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.' And that is what Ronald Reagan was and is and remains today to me: a call to action."

Reagan began his presidency three decades ago during a period of economic difficulty, social change and geopolitical tension. Regardless of our party affiliations and personal beliefs, most of us would agree that today's environment is much the same. During such difficult times, it is tempting to throw up our hands and bemoan the challenges we face.

Of course, there is a better option: we can roll up our sleeves, use our voices and pursue constructive change. Every action, no matter how small, can have a positive influence on the world around us. We can raise money to support medical research. We can reduce our impact on the environment. We can even help reframe government policy.

As business leaders, we are particularly well positioned to influence change. For example, a Much Shelist client became deeply concerned about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and its unintended negative effects on business. For our client, this was his call to action. Instead of merely complaining about the situation, he started a blog, rallied like-minded industry leaders, got the attention of the news media, held meetings with regulators and legislators to discuss the issues and explore alternatives, and became actively involved with the recent Congressional elections.

So what is your call to action? What are you prepared to do by way of public advocacy to make your voice heard and to improve our state and nation for your family and your business?

Getting Started

Are you concerned about an issue that could hinder your ability to succeed as a business? If so, I urge you to channel that passion into action. One way each of us can initiate change is by creating a dialogue with the politicians who represent us—whether in Washington or our home state. The links below will help you get started.

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.