This is from the March Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Missio Nexus. These are the best book summaries on the web. Leader’s Edge monthly book summaries and insightful interviews connect you with today’s leading writers in the Great Commission community. You can visit their website here. Access for individuals starts at under $30. The services include:

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Accessing their services just for the book summaries is well worth the cost. Below is a sample from the March edition of Leader’s Edge Book Summary of Vielmetter and Sell’s book Leadership 2030. Each book summary includes the content of the book by category of:

  • Best chapter
  • Best quotes
  • Best illustration
  • Best idea
  • Best take away
  • Recommendation


Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future

Authors: Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell

Published by AMACOM, January 2014, Hardcover 240 pages. (ISBN-10: 0814432751)

Available in Kindle format. (ASIN: B00F8GFMT0)


Leadership 2030 is based on original research conducted jointly with Z-Punkt and analyzed by the Hay Group, uncovering six mega trends that will dramatically impact organizational leadership. In this context, a megatrend is a “long-term, transformational process with a global reach, broad scope, and a fundamental and dramatic impact.” (Page 6) The six megatrends identified are: globalization 2.0, climate change, individualism, digitization, demographic changes and converging technologies.

 Best chapter

Chapter 4: Remote Possibilities: The Digital Era

The digitization of life is blurring boundaries for work/life balance. Personal and professional are increasingly overlapping circles. Virtualization fuels disruption and helps eliminate power distance between individuals and institutions. We live in a world of asymmetrical influence. The “always on” reality of digitization is fragmenting the workplace as geography becomes a less relevant barrier to opportunity. “In order to create loyalty, leaders must foster a sense of unity, engagement, and collaboration among people who rarely meet, and ensure there is effective decision-making among these groups.” Page 78

Best quotes

“But Globalization 2.0 is a different beast compared to its predecessor. It is not model 1.0 in reverse. Rather, it is characterized by two unique and interrelated attributes: (1) the shift in the economic balance of power to Asia, and (2) the rapid expansion of the middle class in the emerging nations.” Page 18

“Between 2010 and 2050, per capita income is forecast to increase 800 percent in China, 600 percent in India, and around 400 percent in Thailand and Indonesia—compared to just 50 percent in the United States.” Page 22

“Centralized control and standardized operations will not succeed in the new world. Globalization 2.0 demands the flexibility to identify, understand, and react with speed and agility to local market developments.” Page 28

“Customer loyalty means repeat business, while employee loyalty means higher engagement and better performance. But how do you foster loyalty among people who run their friendships and professional relationships on a laptop or smartphone?” Page 66

“Perpetual motion is becoming a global workforce phenomenon. More than 90 percent of American Generation Y employees expect to stay in a position for less than three years.” Page 68

“Another item not on Millennials’ to-do list—perhaps most worryingly for organizations—is leadership. As the Ashridge study discovered, ‘Generation Y…does not want its managers’ jobs.’” Page 69

“People question the conventional wisdom that they should begin working immediately after completing their education and retire at a set age. As a result, careers are gradually expanding from three to five stages. Economics permitting, some people choose to delay the onset of professional life, building a ‘postadolescence’ phase into their life pattern before their professional lives begin, which might consist of a period of travel or volunteering.” Page 70

“Millennials are blurring the distinction between their personal and working lives. To them, time is to be used for the combination of professional and personal activities that suits them best. They demand meaning from their work, and they expect it to be compatible with their personal identity and values.” Page 72

“In this highly individualized world, employee loyalty and retention—at least in the traditional sense—will be considerably more difficult to achieve. Accessing necessary talent will depend on an organization offering compelling opportunities to work on fulfilling tasks and allowing people to do so in ways that satisfy the demands of their lifestyles.” Page 73

“Making organizational structures looser will fundamentally impact the role of the leader. On top of the agenda for leaders will be the need to secure commitment from their teams, in a world where people’s loyalty is to their social and professional networks as much as to any one organization.” Page 73

“Loyalty will no longer be judged by length of service but by length and quality of relationships.” Page 73

“More than 25 million items of content are shared across social media every month. A staggering 250 million photos are uploaded each day to Facebook alone, and 500 million minutes are spent on the site each month. Users of the VoIP service Skype logged a startling 115 billion minutes of calls in one-quarter of 2012. In addition, every minute, twenty-four hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. And just one game in one video game franchise—Call of Duty: Black Ops—logged a staggering 68,000 years of playing time worldwide within only a month of its launch in 2010.” Page 79

“By 2020, all cell phones will be Internet enabled.” Page 80

“For two-thirds of college students worldwide, online access is more important than owning a car. Two-fifths consider the Internet more important than dating or friends, and more than a quarter say the same about Facebook.” Page 81

“Managing the fluid workplace will present two enormous challenges to leaders: (1) ensuring the robustness of the organizations’ IT systems, and (2) leading remote teams.” Page 93

Best illustration

Imagine London in 1894: the world’s largest city, a hectic, densely populated metropolis, and the commercial center of the world. Transportation was its lifeblood. And in the nineteenth century, as it had for thousands of years, transportation meant horses. Just about every product made relied on horsepower for distribution. No large city could have functioned without horses.

In 1894, therefore, London was home to tens of thousands of horses, each of them consuming, according to one calculation, the produce of five acres of arable land per day. And each produced between 15 and 35 pounds of manure. Per day.

This was a problem. More than a problem: It was a crisis. Horse manure was piling up on London’s streets. It was reaching intolerable levels, polluting the environment and attracting billions of flies, which spread fatal diseases such as typhoid. The stench was abominable, and the effect of rain on all that waste does not bear thinking about.

The abundance of horses led to other problems, too: road congestion (horses were slow), accidents (they were given to panic in crowded conditions), mistreatment of the animals, and a growing demand for valuable land to house and feed them.

Scientists and politicians were at a loss as to what to do. An urban planning conference addressing the topic broke up prematurely when no solution could be found. This was the context in which the Times of London dared to predict in 1894 that by 1950, every street in London would be nine feet deep in horse manure.

Over-reliance on the known world also blinded our horse manure forecasters to the solution to their problem. The internal combustion engine had been in existence for thirty years or more by 1894, and it underwent numerous advances and improvements throughout the 1890s. Perhaps most significantly, Carl Benz patented his Motorwagen in 1886, and in 1894 he began production of his first series. Another significant factor was the use of asphalt, which had been employed to create smooth roads in the United States from around 1870. Page 2

The writing was on the wall for horse-drawn transportation. Yet the eminent scientists, politicians, and urban planners who came together to tackle the horse manure crisis failed to understand the changes going on around them. To them, horses and manure were the status quo. Page 9

File under: innovation, resistance to change, predictions

 Best idea

The authors introduce the idea of the altrocentric leader, affirming “leadership is a social practice.”

“Leadership is not a set of fixed attributes possessed by certain people. It is a relationship, the nature of which depends on its context. It is a shared activity that results in shared knowledge, understanding, and meaning. Being a leader or a follower is not a dichotomy but is subject to constant flux: An individual can be a leader in one context and a follower in another.

The leader of the future is altrocentric. Altrocentric leadership is required in the light of the megatrends. Altrocentric leaders have a different self-image from that of alpha-male leaders. They do not seek the spotlight. They understand that leadership is a relationship and that the difference between leaders and followers is contextual.” Page 161

 Best take away

The megatrends identified in this research project cannot be addressed individually. That is part of the complexity of responding to global forces that interact with each other in hard to predict ways. The authors highlight this reality in a chapter that explores how the megatrends reinforce each other and the resulting unique dilemmas.


The information on digitization includes extremely practical insights on next generation workers and how to relate to them. Most importantly is the impact on redefining loyalty, work-life balance, and the core competency of leading decentralized teams. Convene (even virtually) a group of next-gen workers from your team and ask for their feedback on these predictions. What advice would they give you about how your organization should respond?


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