A Framework for Building Competitive Advantage
“So overwhelming was the response to my appeal that it seemed as though all the men of Great Britain were determined to accompany me,” said adventurer and explorer Ernest Shackleton following the placement of his newspaper advert: “Men wanted for hazardous journey to the south pole. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”
Here is the incredible realisation leaders on quests quickly discover: There is never a shortage of talented applicants and committed people ready to take up the charge in order to achieve something meaningful. They will also willingly make considerable personal and monetary sacrifices to be involved. That is just one of the many benefits of the power of a leader’s quest.
Ever since the dawning of civilisation leaders on quests have changed the world.
From the building of the great pyramids, to Ferdinand Magellan quest to circumnavigate the globe, to JFK’s bold quest to go to the moon; brave leaders have ventured forth into the unknown, challenged the impossible and returned successful with new knowledge and rewards.
Quests have proven incredibly powerful, driving civilisation forward to higher and higher levels. Leadership quests inspire, motivate and mobilise people to collaborate and achieve the exceptional. Studies show that people want to be part of a higher-purpose that gives meaning to their lives. Quests are at the epicentre of any good and successful organisational purpose.
In the best selling book Drive, Daniel Pink explains how three elements: mastery, autonomy and purpose drive high performing teams and people. Quest delivers these three elements in spades and provide organisations with an unique framework to proactively develop an ethically minded, benefit driven and high performance culture.
Quests do not replace your vision, mission or purpose, rather quests support invigorate and re-enforce them. Click To Tweet Quests enable teams to bring strategies to life by giving them considerably more meaning and this in turn improves engagement and commitment.
Keith Yamashita, a consultant who has worked with greats like Steve Jobs and Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz, says they figured out the one key thing every great leader knows. “First, you must have the belief that what we are doing will make a difference in the world.”
Great leaders such as Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Elizabeth Holmes are the superstar questers of our age and their quests have garnered significant competitive advantage. We are also discovering that up to 70% of employees would rather work for organisations that deliver meaningful benefits to the world, than take a pay rise. This is driven by a generation known as Gen Y, for whom being a quester is second nature. The organisations that understand this will capture the lion’s share of future talent and valuable customers.
An important and emerging leadership trend is that there is now a growing band of future focused organisations and leaders who are unleashing the power of quest by identifying where they can deliver meaningful benefits and do well by doing good. This powerful force is leading to competitive advantage, enhanced profits and positions of leadership with unprecedented speed. You too can benefit from the Power of Quest because TomorrowToday has created a unique framework for framing your quest, be it personal, departmental or organisational.
Following extensive research by TomorrowToday, we have identified three qualities: An inspirational destination, delivery of meaningful benefits and the possibility of achieving the impossible; that make quest such a potent proponent of imbedding higher-purpose, driving positive inspirational change and creating competitive advantage.
Unleashing the power of quest involves nurturing a mindset of the three qualities of questing into your everybody’s everyday. As a questing mindset becomes rooted in what you do quests will naturally deliver the autonomy, mastery and purpose Pink identified as drivers of high performance teams.
Our own research shows that strategic and organisational quests achieve astonishing results and sustainable competitive advantage because:
1. Quests deliver meaningful benefits: Quests focus on the systems problem, fixing what is broken. This foster blue-ocean thinking, ingenuity and innovation.
2. Quests inspire: Because quests are challenging and deliver meaningful benefits they attract the best talent. Leaders on meaningful quests discover that there is never a shortage of talented applicants.
3. Quests empower: When the destination, the end goal of the quest is clear and delivered using outcome-focused language, it becomes empowering. This allows fellow questers to experiment, fail fast and discover new routes to success. Questing leaders know that inspired leadership, not management, is key.
4. Quests build adaptability and resilience: Because the end destination is meaningful and clearly understood as an outcome, people become passionate about delivery and become engaged. This in turn fosters a culture of ownership, adaptability and resilience.
5. Quest build passion and loyalty: Questing organisations and leaders become admired by their communities. Their story inspires others to join the quest, to do their big bit or small bit, to achieve the quest’s destination. Increasingly more staff and customers become champions and ambassadors. This in turn builds communities who passionately want the quest to succeed. Loyalty of this nature cannot be bought.
Your journey starts here
There are three ways you can engage the Quest framework
- Book one of our speakers to deliver an inspirational presentation and or workshop on Quest at your next conference or away day
- Build a questing culture into your organisational DNA by following our 100-day-plan
- Use our world-class leadership development programmes to embed a quester mindset in your leadership teams. These programmes are also run at London Business School and INSEAD/CEDEP and you can get them directly from TomorrowToday