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Grassroots Voice: This Marathon Campaign Requires Working Together
by Brian Jennings

As a Congressional staffer I worked with countless people in DC whose egos weren’t checked at the door, folks who confused leadership for “being in charge” and thought they needed to dominate others and be “in control.”

The fact is the most effective leaders are not control freaks – we can respectfully agree to disagree on issues, and no one political party, organization, or individual has a monopoly on good ideas. In fact, most of the best ideas implemented by governments or organizations are the combination of a lot of good ideas from a variety of sources.

I recognize there’s some tension in the ethanol industry right now, but let’s not forget these basic facts and that we’re on the same team.

ACE’s mantra is that there’s too much work to do to fight over who’s going to get the credit for doing it. Contrary to popular opinion, the ethanol industry is not better off with just one voice speaking on our behalf. Rather, we win when multiple voices speak as one. We have consistently said that the ethanol industry needs less emphasis on the “me” and more emphasis on the “we” – more emphasis on team ethanol and doing the work.

The National Corn Growers Association recognizes that we’re all on the same team, too, and they have reached out to ACE and other groups to focus on the need for more respect and cooperation. I am encouraged that we’ll see more strategic and effective coordination in the future thanks to the leadership of NCGA.

Remember, we are embarking on enormously important mission, a marathon campaign, to reinvent the way humans produce and consume energy. With the tax credit up for reauthorization next year and monumental issues such as E15 and ILUC hanging in the balance, we need to work together.

The leaders that I admire the most – my parents, teachers, Members of Congress I worked with – helped me understand that the most under-appreciated quality of a leader is humility.

Some people may find that odd because they confuse humility for being timid. But leaders who demonstrate humility are confident, not passive. They are sufficiently sure of their judgment and self-worth to genuinely listen to others, they do not feel the need to be in control, to dominate a situation, and they are not threatened by a contrary point of view. They respect others.

Divided we will fail. Only we can defeat ourselves. Because we are all on the same team, ACE will continue work with the corn growers and others, focusing more on our collective industry priorities than our occasional differences of opinion.

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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