At just past midnight (GMT), on the 20th July, Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination for US president. When Donald Trump announced his intention to run for president, many people dismissed his candidacy as a joke. Seems that Trump is having the last laugh now. Over the past year, the property developer from New York has turned American politics on its head, shook it about with growing disdain and saw off professional political players backed by his quest to “Make America Great Again.”
Research into my Book Quest: Competitive Advantage and the Art of Leadership in the 21st Century placed leaders and organisations who changed the world under the microscope. It revealed three driving trends shaping the future of our world now.
- the power of social media;
- the democratisation of knowledge and information; and,
- unprecedented access to mobile and disruptive technology means that it’s never been easier to make the impossible, possible.
Here’s the thing. People are inspired by leaders who want to make a difference, who want to take things to a higher level. The BREXIT campaign, considered another “impossible” until the Leave campaign won, proved this point too. The best the Remain campaigners could muster was a fear mongering monologue about how bad it might be if the UK left the EU. The Leave team said “let’s set sail into a stormy sea, for the promise of a better land.” They never had a plan of how to get to their promised land but then they didn’t need one because millions were inspired to vote for their dream.
Human history shows that you can not fear people into doing something longterm. But you can mobilise (now with the power of social media) in real time millions of strangers to collaborate and support a quest that promises to achieve the impossible and deliver more meaningfulness. Few businesses get this, but the good ones do. It’s why Apple and Google are so valuable and why for most other businesses no one cares.
Donald Trump has a better than not chance of winning. Actually I’m going to predict that he will win. Not because he is a good leader but because he has convinced people that he is on a good quest. All his Republican adversaries promised more of the same old world, they were washed away. Trump promises to make the impossible possible and by doing so he promises to deliver meaningful benefits to the people who matter most to his campaign. In disrupting American politics Donald Trump may have started his groundswell in Middle America but he has quickly and effectively migrated upstream and now his reach and influence is far and wide.
Hillary Clinton had better take note – if you want to disrupt a disruptee, you need a big dream. If, Mrs Clinton, you want to win you will need an inspirational quest, something people in America can believe in, and the “Make America Great Again” ship has already sailed. The worst thing you can do is to embark on your own quest singing a similar or the same song as Donald Trump. It will not inspire and you will lose all credibility. Even more damaging is your current campaign vote for me “because we can’t let him win.” The BREXIT Remain campaigners lost because the best inspiration they could find was ‘vote for Stay so Leave doesn’t win’. It wasn’t inspirational, it certainly didn’t challenge the impossible.
Facts, logic and experts can only get you so far. They may help you run a good campaign but you will not run a dominant campaign. Inspired dreams get you over the winning line first.
Mrs Clinton needs to ask three important questions:
- How can America work better and deliver more meaningful benefits to American’s?
- What is the impossible we need to overcome and by doing so raise America to a higher level?
- What is the inspirational target destination of your quest that can become your political rallying call?
If you are not on a quest to make the impossible possible and to deliver meaningful benefits to the people who matter most in your life and to your organisation, people will vote you irrelevant. This is the lesson for leaders from the past 30 days that have seen Donald Trump voted as the Republican Presidential Candidate and Britain vote to leave the EU.
So are you on a quest to inspire people to believe you can deliver meaningful benefits by challenging the impossible? This question is as important for politicians as it is for business leaders. If you want to learn more about how you and your team can embark on “impossible quests” to change your world and make it a better place please contact me.
You can learn more about the power of impossible, the power of meaningfulness and the power of inspired destinations here