What is the Leading Resource in the World? Here’s a Clue: It is Not Money.

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“What is the leading resource in the world? It is not money,” says Mike Milken founder of the Milken Institute, a global think tank, “the major asset in the world is the productivity of individuals.” So the billion-dollar question has to be, how do organisations achieve more productivity from individuals? Mr. Milken provides an insightful and perhaps unexpected answer: “One of the great challenges of the twenty-first century is, does a person feel they have a fulfilling life?”

Mr Milken, I want to thank you, because you have help me articulate an important message. In your three sentences, you have captured The Power of the Leaders’ Quest.

Research for my book Quest: Competitive Advantage and the Art of Leadership in the 21st Century, placed under the microscope inspirational organisations and remarkable leaders who have achieved amazing things by embarking on journeys that have moved their organisations and the world to a higher level. We decoded what these leaders do and identified a unique leadership model framed by three powerful leadership qualities. This framework provides leaders at any level, across any organisation with powerful and practical techniques to inspire people, improve results and have a positive impact in the world they influence and beyond.

This is an important development in the field of strategic management and leadership because globally productivity is struggling – see Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty and The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert Gordon. – Perplexingly the promised gains from computing and recent technological advances are not being translated into worker productivity increases.

Productivity is besieged because it now relates not only to being efficient and effective but also to fulfilment. As industries moved into the knowledge economy, companies, however, did not make the big shift to meeting fulfilment needs of individuals. Therefore, the productivity gains companies commanded during the industrial age have not been carried forward into the information and digital age.

Productivity is now more dependant on people but people can not be commanded and controlled in the same way that machines can. Here’s the thing. Companies are good at managing the nuts and bolts. Its called being efficient and effective. But companies are not so good at appealing to peoples’ emotions and inspiring them because it’s not easy.  As Mr Milken points out, this is the great challenge of the 21st century.

Fortunately this is where the The Power of the Leaders’ Quest provides a compelling solution. TomorrowToday’s latest framework is designed as a leadership and strategic framework for enhancing personal fulfilment, driving engagement, improving productivity, agility, innovation, business growth and competitive advantage. Sounds like a lot but that’s the power of the leaders’ quest.

The leading companies of the past five or ten years have recognised the big competitive shift and they are kicking butt and disrupting industries because of it. – Think Apple, GE, Unilever, Tesla, SpaceX, Theranos, Airbnb,  Facebook, Alphabet, Uber etc. and a growing list of other Unicorns –  All these companies have propositions that inspire and fulfil peoples’ lives. People – be they employees, customers or shareholders – who are inspired by, believe in what you do and find fulfilment – will “sweat blood” to make your dream a reality.

Take old stalwart and industrialised giant GE whose CEO Jeff Immelt said in Fast Company Magazine: “Ten or twenty years ago, what differentiated companies was how well managed they were. Today if you are well managed, you can still be a good company, but you’re not going to be a dominant company.” GE is a master at being efficiently managed but its leadership have risen to the new challenge that Mr. Milken alludes to and GE is now on a quest to “improve the world by 1% every year.” Achieving this bold and inspirational quest will deliver trillions of dollars of savings and added value not only to GE’s customers but also the broader global society.

Fulfilment comes from finding and delivering meaningfulness, things that benefit those other than ourselves, and GE’s quest has become the reason for thousands of its workers to get out of bed and care about why and what they are doing.

Competitive advantage no longer comes solely from efficient management of resources and capital, a reality most business leaders grapple with as they continue single-mindedly to seek out incremental gains in cost savings and efficiencies from already lean and strained systems.

To gain strategic advantage, companies are going to have to effectively engage and deploy the major asset of the twenty-first century – productive people. The Power of The Leaders’ Quest provides leaders with a unique and powerful methodology to frame strategic thinking and business, HR and marketing strategies. Importantly, this inspirational framework works in tandem with your existing visions, strategies and goals, reinforcing, invigorating and giving existing plans new life.

The Power of a Leaders’ Quest is delivered as a keynote presentation, workshop and consulting engagements. The framework is inspirational, thought-provoking and immensely practical allowing for immediate and actionable steps.

You can watch Dean van Leeuwen presenting The Power of the Leaders’ Quest at TEDxUnic and running a leadership development programme on Quests with the John Lewis Partnership

You can learn more about building a questing culture and our 100-day plan here

 

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