The Next Generation of Leadership


... and re-engaging in the war for top talent

Source: The Gallup Management Journal, 1251 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2350, New York, NY 10020, 888274-5447. Based on interview with Tim Clifton, Gallup’s Chairman and CEO. Visit

Clifton says that businesses have, in most cases, wrung every possible benefit out of practices based on neoclassical economics such as Six Sigma, Re-engineering, TQM etc etc...

He was asked – so are there no worlds left to conquer?

His and Gallup’s view is that there are vast worlds left to conquer, however achieving that is based around the discovery that human decision making is more emotional than rational.

He argues that in the new way of doing business it will be those leaders who best understand their constituents’ states of mind, that will conquer the world and that “state of mind” is everything that matters to leadership: Talent, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Optimism, Determination, and all the other things that create economic growth.

It is the new generation of leaders who can get a real grasp on their constituents’ “states of mind”, as opposed to an in depth understanding of financial statements, that stand to win the most.

Clifton defines the most basic state of mind that leaders need to understand as the will of their constituencies –

Their will to work
Their will to live
Their will to revolt and
Their will to follow

Another element of state of mind is about “emotional affect”; how much stress your constituency feels about –

  • Money  
  • Trying to get to work
  • Their relationship with their boss

Constituencies are described as whoever you are leading – your company, your city, your country, or it might be a group you’re keeping an eye on or tracking; at an extreme, it might be the people hanging around a terrorist training camp.

Remember, in the global marketplace you can get mostly anything from anywhere at the price you want, or very close to it. That negates competition based on price or quality.

These messages struck me as just as relevant for the competition for top talent as to any other product.