Tim Wolfe has resigned from his post as President of the University of Missouri in what has become a major lesson on the power of voice, unity and communication developments in the twenty-first century. It is an example of power in the workplace, which is no better described than through the actions of Missouri football players, who were instrumental in causing a change at the highest position in the University.
Upset at Wolfe's reaction (or lack thereof) to University of Missouri campus racial incidents, the Missouri football team took to Twitter:
We are no longer taking it. It's time to fight. #ConcernedStudent1950 #MizzouHungerStrike pic.twitter.com/mnPZBviqJF
Wolfe resigned within 48 hours of the football team's statement. Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced his upcoming resignation in close proximity.
The Power of Unity
Perhaps the number one lesson from the Missouri team's act is to demonstrate how collective action can be much stronger than going at something on your own. One college football player deciding to sit out a game in opposition to Wolfe's lack of action may have caused a stir; the entire football team refusing to participate in an intercollegiate athletics competition would have had far more devastating effects.
Failure to play its upcoming game against BYU would have cost Missouri $1 million in liquidated damages, due within thirty days of the scheduled game. The $1 million loss would cause pain to Missouri's athletic program, and further damages would have likely resulted based on trouble recruiting future student-athletes and the potential for a lapse in money provided from loyal boosters.
The Power of Speaking Up
You may fear the consequences of speaking up on behalf of a cause, but inaction will likely never allow you to achieve the results you desire. If Missouri's football players were too concerned about the negative consequences of speaking up, Wolfe could possibly remain in a position of power on campus to this day.
Athletes are commonly so very concerned about discussing important political issues, but the case of Missouri football players proves that their voices, especially when unified, can cause important change. The same can occur in oppressive workplace environments, where employees feel as though they are being mistreated.
Silence certainly has the ability to be powerful, but in many situations, using one's voice is the only way to escape the status quo.
The Power of Social Media
Even before the Wolfe resignation effort began, Missouri football players had already experienced the power of social media. The team's starting running back had tweeted news, which went out to his 6,000+ followers, that he was ready to return to the field after an injury sooner than later.
That brief tweet was enough to become the subject of an article in The Columbia Missourian.
We live in a world captivated by social media, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or the like. A simple statement can be shared by many and quickly become the topic du jour of a wide spectrum of individuals in a variety of industries.
Understanding how to properly use and exploit social media can be key. It was certainly an important element in forcing the resignation of the prior leader at the University of Missouri.