We’re doing something about the global leadership crisis. Join us.

Are you uneasy and/or concerned about the nature and quality of leadership? In business, in government – pretty much everywhere? That for all of the incredible opportunities for equitable growth in an age of abundance, our society is increasingly divided – economically and otherwise?

You aren’t alone. 

For over a year now, I’ve been working with amazing colleagues in 10 countries to lay the foundation for a new non-profit global community called The Leaders Expedition (LEx). We are a community based on the underlying principle that personal gain and societal good are NOT mutually exclusive, but rather are guarantors of prosperity for all.

Today, we are issuing a call to support and stand with us in that vital mission.

Please CLICK HERE to learn more about LEx, how you can support us with as little as a $5.00 contribution, or how you can join our movement for free if our message especially resonates with you and you wish to be a member of a community that is as committed to your success you are to it’s.

 

Je Suis Charlie: You (and we) HAVE To Rethink Leadership

The infrequent visitor to this blog might be puzzled by the an apparent lack of coherence found herein. In the ‘Digest’ section I share many of the timely articles/stories that have captured my attention – all more or less speaking to the scale and scope of profound disruption, the forces that are ever faster shaping our existence.  Elsewhere in ‘Posts’ one will find the sometime chronicling of my journey over the past few years, and my thoughts on the changing nature of leadership.  Still elsewhere, the diligent reader will see that I’m applying myself to the challenge and reward of establishing a CEO Forum to better explore ways of building 15 or so exceptional businesses though peer mentoring and collaboration.

Sadly, the coherence is to be found in the shadow of the tragedy we’ve all just witnessed this past week in Paris, where the forces of ignorance struck out at a society wrestling with just the initial consequences of profound politico-socio-economic disruption driven in turn by exponential technological growth.  I have previously observed that orthodoxy generally can be regarded as a reaction to change – be it in our religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism etc.), our cultures, our legislatures, our institutions, our organizations – and our businesses.  As the complexity of the world becomes more indecipherable to some, many within our societies are clearly falling back on simpler answer sets for comfort and guidance – a disenfranchised (or perhaps more accurately unenfranchised) population that is growing at an alarming pace.  That this is happening speaks to a leadership deficit that is equally alarming – in our religious leaders of course, but so to in the leadership of our politicians, our community leaders and our business leadership.  When young men (and now women) take up arms against their homeland, there are a great many ‘leaders’  who have failed them, and more to the point, their victims.

If you’ve read this far, you must – MUST – take a few minutes to watch Jeremy Howard’s recent TEDx talk in Brussels – The Wonderful and Terrifying Implications Of Computers That Can Learn.  If you do so you will see that the stuff of science fiction is shaping our world much, much faster than most of us realize – with the attendant consequences (good and bad) on the entities that we lead.  It is not hard to imagine that those seeking a simple and simplistic  understanding of life and their role within it will join the ranks of the ignorant to our collective peril.  In short, if we want a world where each human has the opportunity to be a constructive and participative citizen and is motivated (and incented) to be the best ‘them’ they can be, we need a leadership cohort that is much, much better at making sense of their environments, with the consequent capacity to apply enlightened leadership to the reality of profound disruption.

And who provide the greatest numbers to the global leadership cohort?  Those who run businesses.  Those who are responsible for inventing things, making things, making things better, organizing things, creating employment.  Like it or not, our businesses have been given a societal license to create and distribute wealth and power a prosperous, healthy world.  Our businesses, like it or not, are the engines of societal growth.  On the whole – and as a cohort – we’ve done a pretty inadequate job, taking refuge in the laissez faire POV that ‘it’s not my job’ to think of the bigger picture.  “My job is to  run my business”.  The reality is, if we as a society are to realize the benefits – for all citizens – of profound disruption, then its our business leaders who need to step up and assume the responsibility of true leadership, or else inevitably others will (that societal license I referred to is ‘use it or lose it’).  And where product life-cycles are increasingly measured in months, successful businesses are adapting to a world of constant flux – something government and public sector leadership are structurally prevented from doing.

Simply put, to defeat ignorance we need to create happy, healthy societies that engage their populations – failure to do so will have terminal consequences.

What does it mean to be such a leader?  I have no idea.  But I do know that it’s less about where you look for answers as much as it is with whom you frame the questions, and share in the exploration and discovery of objective solutions.  I know that leadership isn’t found in the self-serving ‘how to be a winning CEO’ lists/articles we are all subjected to, but rather that leadership is nurtured from within.  And I do know that the place to start is at the ground floor – within the businesses that drive our societies.  Every business has the capacity to be an incubator for equitable wealth generation and distribution.  Every leader has the capacity to be an exemplar of enlightened leadership – accepting that when they seek the mantle of leadership they are joining a global community of world makers – who are party both to the defeat of ignorance and the victory of enlightenment.

We are all Charlie.

 

 

Public-sector digitization: The trillion-dollar challenge

MoBT36_Public-sector-digitization_1536x1536_ThumbnailCitizens and businesses now expect government information to be readily available online, easy to find and understand, and at low or no cost. Governments have many reasons to meet these expectations by investing in a comprehensive public-sector digital transformation. Our analysis suggests that capturing the full potential of govern­ment […]

 

We’re Heading Into a Jobless Future, No Matter What the Government Does

We're Heading Into a Jobless Future, No Matter What the Government Does

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal , former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers revived a debate I’d had with futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 about the jobless future. He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history of scarcity to an […]

 

I’ve landed (and the how & why of it)

There has been admittedly, a lull in my reporting.  But silence does not speak to inaction or indolence.  Indeed, my neurons have been firing at a particularly active rate of late.  And the point I find myself at in the moment is in fact a landing point.  I have arrived here and have concluded that here marks the beginning of a journey I believe will be profound, remarkable and important – certainly for me and I hope for you.

For those who have followed me and my musings over the last year or so, you will know that I have been exploring options for my next play – my raison d’être.  Something that caught my imagination, my propensity for big ideas – something that mattered.  It needed to be something that leveraged my 30+ years as an intrapreneur, consultant and entrepreneur AND my newfound understanding of the power of leadership coaching. But as I probed and scoped for things to do, I realized that context was for me, missing.  Here I was trying to find my fit in life for the next x-xx years, and I hadn’t nailed the context for life – for living (both capital ‘L’).  Sounds kind of existential.  It was.

So I started scanning and reading articles about innovation and technology.  Tens of articles became hundreds and hundreds thousands.  And not just about geekspeak developments in the pureplay tech space, but about how such advancements were floating all our boats – advances in material science, nanotechnology, healthcare, robotics/AI and so much more.

While I had always considered myself au courant, I found instead that the breadth, depth and pace of change was at a state far beyond what I understood to be.  It was immeasurably more than what that over-used term ‘disruptive’ allows for.  In fact, I realized that we are approaching a watershed moment in human development and history, a time that has the potential to see Man transcendent in all the ways that can be considered good, and yet with the very real possibility that we will either shrink from that future because of fear and ignorance, and/or we will corrupt the nature and quality of that transcendence to something mean and common – even evil.

So.  A pressing future was revealed to me that was at once awesome and terrifying.  Given the potentially terminal consequence of failure, humanity’s picking the wrong door was not an option.  Which begged the question – is our leadership prepared to lead us through, to and beyond this watershed? Do they have the intellect, values, courage and vision necessary to guide us and inspire us?

You will not be surprised that I concluded in the negative – no, nyet, negatory, definitely not. No.

So. Timing is everything.  Just as I was pondering the inevitable decline/demise of us and our collective – at minimum a descent into mediocrity – I discovered a discipline/POV that had been conceived of and incubated over the last half century in the best business schools in the west.  It is elegant, even beautiful, it is startling intuitive and simple, and it is dense. The academics who laboured away at it for those five decades clearly didn’t want anyone finding out about it. The problem is, I think it may represent a new way of defining leadership and empowering leaders that is unique and vital to the imperative of picking the right door(s) that I noted above.  Rather than provide a one-size-fits-all prescriptive answer (like the million biz-philosophies and guru’s du jour), it provides a new way of understanding oneself, ones family, ones business, ones community – ones environment. This way of thinking provides a new framework for asking questions, that in the answering is far more likely to lead to genuine and helpful enlightenment.

So.  (Likely) Problem identified.  (Likely) Solution identified.  We have something like 25-40 years to get our act together and start acting like a species that can make the earth what it can and should be and shoot for the stars at the same time.

Who then to take the lead? Government? I think not – for not only are they too slow, cumbersome and self-interested, their mandate is by definition driven by narrow local, regional and national perspectives – when the best solutions are more often than not, global.  The answer I’ve concluded, is business.  Not the Bernie Madoff, Wall Street-that-nearly-destroyed-us kind of capitalism, but one that reframes itself by asking the right questions and pursuing thoughtful answers (note I didn’t say the ‘right’ answer – more on that later) that engage and profit all stakeholders. No surprise then, if you’ve managed to follow my logic (gold star for you), I’ve netted out that we must distill and develop this new leadership mindset and insert it into an eco-system of millions of actors so that intellectual Darwinism does its job of testing and refining said mindset as an agnostic alternative to a world made small by orthodoxy.

Now THIS is something I can sink my existential teeth into!  Being party to the cracking of the problem/solution definitely captures my imagination, and it certainly qualifies as a big idea, but most importantly – it matters. For the future that is unfolding demands that we each take what we are and do more with it.  So, for my part, I will roll up my 30+ years of intrapreneurial, consulting, entrepreneurial and coaching experience to start the process of distilling, testing and refining this new POV with those of similar mindset – for business leaders who perceive their corporate success as an exemplar, a tool,  for something greater.

Let the journey begin.

 

 

 

Autonomous Vehicles: A Disruption Case Study

Autonomous Vehicles: A Disruption Case Study

At a recent news conference, U.S. federal transportation officials described Talking Cars and their ability to avoid deadly crashes by seeing it coming before you do. The U.S. government will likely require automakers to equip new vehicles with technology that lets cars warn each other if trouble lies ahead. […]

 

Singularity University and CNBC Partner to Launch Exponential Finance Conference June 10-11 in New York City

download (81)Exponential Finance will take place June 10-11, 2014, in New York City. The event will bring together top business leaders and government officials with the next generation of entrepreneurs to engage in dynamic and forward-thinking discussions on the exponential technologies that are creating the next greatest wave of transition in industry, business and finance.  […]

 

Innovation is the Engine of Prosperity and Success for All People

“As the United States looks to the future and to building long-term competitiveness, innovation is the engine of prosperity and success for all people,” I responded when I was recently asked why innovation is important for government at an event organized by the White House, Fuse Corps and the Presidio Institute at Fort Scott. After all, not only does government touch the lives of tens of millions of people every day, it accounts for about 40% of gross domestic product including state, local and federal spending.  […]

 

3 Disruptive Technologies Gaining Speed

Whenever I’m out speaking with different groups, regardless of the topic, I am invariably asked the question, “What is the next big thing in terms of technology?”

From where I see things, that is the wrong question! The proper question is, or should be: “What technologies will combine to make the next big change in the way we live and work?”

Over a decade ago, the events of 9/11 slowed down many technology development efforts around the world as resources got diverted. Just as we began to emerge from that slump, the financial crisis brought about by the collapse of the housing market pulled the rug out from under the technology evolution for the second time. Once again we are at the threshold where multiple technology initiatives are just about ready to achieve critical mass — together.  […]

 

In Germany, You Can Now Make Private Transactions In Bitcoins

download (58)The federal government of Germany, one of the most important nations in the financial world, has recognized Bitcoins officially. The financial regulator in the country has added the currency to the national banking code after deciding Bitcoins actually do act as “units of value.”  […]

 
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