In my book Quest: Competitive advantage and the Art of Leadership in the 21st Century, chapter 2 tells the story of the millennial generation being a generation of questers on steroids. This generation is driven by having a positive social impact on communities around the world while also making a profit. But they see profit as an outcome of doing a good job at improving the world. Profit is an outcome not a goal. Millennials see the world as broken and they want to fix it. They are redefining the rules for success and using the power of business as a force for good. In doing this, millennials are blurring the lines between investment, philanthropy, seeking investment opportunities that take the communities they influence and touch to higher levels. As I say in my book:
The Millennial Generation is without a shred of doubt a generation of questers on steroids! This is tremendously encouraging news because the world has an urgent need for ethically driven, morally minded questers to embark on quests that will drive meaningful benefit and make the world a better place.
Quests are second nature to Millennials; they have grown up watching epic Hollywood quests from Avatar to Lord of the Rings and playing a multitude of adventure quest-based games. Quests are inherently central to the values of this generation and they are growing up impatient to embark on their own world-changing adventures.
With the advantage of technology on their side, Millennial change agents are racing forward to deliver meaningful change in the world, and, very little can stop them, certainly not a stuffy organisation or leaders with outdated views on profits and organisational meaning. Overwhelmingly this generation believes that businesses are focused on their own agenda rather than helping to improve society. “Millennials want more from business than might have been the case 50, 20, or even 10 years ago,” says Deloitte Global CEO, Barry Salzberg. “They are sending a very strong signal to the world’s leaders that when doing business, they should do so with purpose. The pursuit of this different and better way of operating in the 21st century begins by redefining leadership.” If organisations want to attract the best talent, they need to understand where they can add the most benefit to the society they touch and set course on quests to deliver meaningful differences. This goes far beyond products and profits.
The Economist Intelligence Unit and HSBC have released a report titled Motivated by Impact supporting what I have written in my book. You can download here. It’s a good insightful read for people who want to understand a generation of leaders who are changing the world and the rules for success in business