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21st century workplace leaders are visionaries with the ability inspire and motivate. They are not only product visionaries; they are leadership visionaries who invent entirely new ways of organizing human effort.
Wal-Mart stores, Southwest Airlines, Google.com, and Amazon.com are examples of 21st century leadership. They are fast growing which means they need a continuous supply of new employees that meet their unique requirements. The basic requirement is natural talent. There is one problem with this; most people do not know what their natural talent is or their true capabilities. They can only be discovered through opportunity. This requires employees be offered opportunity at all levels, not just staff, to discover what they are.
In the entertainment and sports world, what makes performers popular? It is natural talent that is developed to a high degree. Formal education may or may not be a factor. In fact, these people started developing their skills at an early age through self-education. Because opportunity was in harmony with their natural talent, they became highly creative, motivated, love to learn, and were self-educated. They are the ones that develop efficiency.
Most people do not have opportunity to discover their natural talent at an early age. The formal education system helps some, but not all. The rest have to discover it through self-discovery or with the help of an employer. Only a few businesses are structured to help develop hidden skills. The ones that do are fast growing and highly successful, their leadership is in the 21st century.
In Mr. Sam Walton’s book “Made in America” tells how he opened his first Wal-Mart general merchandise stores in rural farm communities. His new employees were young with no retail experience and no college graduate was going to accept a job in a small town general store. In Mr. Walton’s favor, he had a talent for recognizing people with natural marketing skills. To do this he gave employees opportunity to be creative. As a result his first store managers were high school dropouts with limited academic skills, but they quickly mastered marketing skills. He recognized natural talent and self-education work together creating a high degree of motivation.
As Mr. Walton expanded outside the farm environment he hired formal educated managers that majored in marketing. He noticed that his self-educated managers were out performing his college educated managers. His experience with inexperienced employees and his policy of developing their skills was sound. Today, Wal-Mart employees are given opportunity to discover their natural talent, when in harmony with company’s needs they are promoted. His store managers are selected from current employees based on natural talent and self-education skills.
During the 1980s the computer age transformed the way businesses operate. Few people at the time understood the potential of this powerful tool or were skilled in it. During this time most skilled programmers were self-educated, which means, this was their natural talent. Wal-Mart stores took the lead in computerizing its inventory and distribution system. The policy of selecting people with natural talent gave them a huge lead in software development. Their competitors could not find quality programmers or did not know how to select them.
It is the CEOs vision and his leadership that launches the organization. It is employees and their creative input that expand the original concept. Motivation inspires creativity and comes from any source including janitors and outsiders. People love to be associated with people that create new things and know how to get things done. I call it team education where the sharing of knowledge inspires ideas; then one idea inspires another. The quality is based on opportunity and experience.
The ideal employee has discovered his natural talent and is motivated by it. He has self-education skills with a love to learn. In the education world this person is considered highly intelligent. In the entertainment world he is highly talented. For advancement, the following characteristics are considered:
The workplace needs to be managed as a lifetime learning opportunity. Public education needs to be managed in a way that supports workplace lifetime learning. Creating motivation for lifetime learning starts with self discovery, finding what motivates individuals. Project based education can achieve this, because projects are fun and it hides the education element. The workplace is a project based organization. Education that simulates the workplace would prepare students for the real world.
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