Leadership for a Changing World


There are only a few certainties in life: death, taxes… and change.

And the rate of change is speeding up—rapidly.

Several factors are causing this acceleration: the expansion of technology and knowledge, globalization and the changing demographic majority. Let’s take a look at how these factors are impacting the landscape of leadership.

Technology: Ray Kurzweil, in his 2001 essay “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” asserts that technology won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).

Knowledge: By 1900, it had taken 150 years to double all human knowledge. Today it takes only one or two years, and by 2020, knowledge will double every 72 days, according to estimates.

Globalization: The competition for talent, resources and attention doesn’t just come from the other members of your local chamber of commerce; it now comes from every high-rise, second bedroom and basement in the world.

Changing Demographic: The millennial generation (those born in the 1980s and 1990s) are the largest to enter the workforce since the baby boomer generation. Nurtured through a different era, this generation has a different value system, and they will play a key role in

the changing nature of workplace dynamics.

Leadership over the past 50 years has been based on the premise that the organization is purely an economic entity. The priority was to develop structures, set controls and leverage capital as effectively as possible. This was accomplished through pyramids of hierarchies performing rigidly narrow tasks within clear guidelines.

Today, the speed of change demands a completely different leader: one who can rapidly adapt to change, requiring constant involvement in skill development. They will need to be expert in human capital, not just financial capital; master emotional intelligence, not just economic competence; know how to collaborate, not just control; lead through networks, not hierarchies; and align people through meaning and purpose, not structures and spreadsheets. Leadership will rely more on emotional and relational aptitude rather than technical or financial expertise.

Ultimately, in my view, the leaders who will succeed going forward will be those who can build leadership in others. Leadership is no longer about getting others to follow you, but building leadership in everyone around you. You do this by developing the mindset and emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-confidence and self-management) and skills sets (communication, time management, networking and team-building) so everyone can lead themselves in this constantly changing environment, thus leading you and the organization in the direction of your greater goals.

It comes down to this: The winning leaders of the future will be those who can develop leaders out of everyone in their organizations the fastest.

Ready, set, go!

P.S. The feature of Starbuck’s returning and turnaround CEO, Howard Schultz in our April issue of SUCCESS is fantastic! Be sure to get a copy… and study it. The future of YOUR organization, community and family depends on your leadership.

What do you do to build leaders around you? How do you not only lead the people around you, but build them into independent leaders of their own. Share your thoughts in the comments below.



77 responses to “Leadership for a Changing World”

  1. I leave a response each time I appreciate a post on a site or I have something to valuable to contribute to the
    conversation. Usually it’s triggered by the fire communicated
    in the article I browsed. And after this article Leadership for a Changing World | Darren Hardy, Publisher of SUCCESS Magazine.

    I was actually moved enough to drop a thought 😉 I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s
    okay. Is it only me or do a few of these comments look as if they are left
    by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional
    social sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post.
    Would you list the complete urls of your community sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  2. “By 2020, knowledge will double every 72 days, according to estimates” – where does this estimate come from? Please advise.

  3. Usually I don’t learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice post.

  4. I have been surfing on-line more than 3 hours these days, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty price sufficient for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you did, the net shall be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  5. Darren, I am impressed with your thoughts. In fact I have quoted your writing in my new book that I am now working on ‘Knowledge Economy and Education’. Upali

  6. I’ve heard different dates as to the Millenial Generation. Gen Y is from 1978 – ’95, and here’s why:

    1. Studies show huge similarities in the attitudes of those born in the late ’70s and ’80s. For example, people born 1978 – ’90 voted 2 to 1 for Obama. Also, a 2003 survey showed 56% support for gay marriage among people who were 15 – 25 back then (those born 1978 – ’88).

    2. Generations are getting much shorter due to the acceleration of technological and cultural change, which is why Gen X is only from 1965 – ’77.

    3. Those born in ’78 were both the first to enter this life during the PC era and had not quite come of age when the internet went mainstream in ’95 (the “Net Generation”).

    *Note that the above is the CULTURAL Gen Y. The DEMOGRAPHIC Gen Y begins in 1977, because an online chart shows that the “echo boom” period really began that year, when about 160,000 more babies were born than during ’76.

    And by the way, I was born in 1979 and I am a Millenial, because I have virtually nothing in common with Gen X.

  7. FANTASTIC Darren! I am the pastor of a church where part of our mission is to develop leadership in everyone in our congregation (which is why Success is one of my go-to resources). I thought your prescribed areas of development were spot on; mindset and emotional intelligence and skills sets. Do you have favorite resources for developing these specific areas? Anything to develop leaders more effectively would be appreciated. Thanks!

  8. Great insight on the future of our ever-expanding circle of influence and leadership skills needed in order to thrive. This has been a great passion of mine for many years. I always loved to hear of someone’s “dilemma” so that I could positively encourage them to think through it until they got the answer they needed.

    I developed the E.A.R.N. strategy principle. Ethics, Attitude, Reality and Negotiation. Every good problem solver needs it. Every good leader instills it. In order to empower others to lead, one must “earn” the right to be heard first!!

    Keep up the good work Darren!!


    ~ Cynthia Hayes,
    LifeChimes, International

  9. Darren,

    Great article. I so hope that people who are in management positions will take this message to heart and really put it into practice. I have worked with many different personalities, most of them “go for(s)” and “why(ers)” , very few lead to inspire and to encourage. I recently worked with a manager who spends most of her days complaining and criticizing the faults that other people do but provides very few constructive solutions. I once read an article written by a retired army officer, and he said “leadership is to serve, not to be served.” I subscribe to this notion and try to practice it every day. Thank you for the constant inspiration.


  10. Darren,

    Great post…it is almost incomprehensible thinking about total human knowledge doubling
    every 72 days. I think your key point says it all “The winning leaders of the future will be those who can develop leaders out of everyone in their organizations the fastest.”


  11. Emmanuel, I can feel your gratitude! How beautiful. Thank you for sharing your hope so authentically.

    Darren, thank you for your inspiration — yet again!

    “Leadership is no longer about getting others to follow you, but building leadership in everyone around you.” In my work — simply — “I help people shine.” I love supporting others get connected to what sends their heart aflutter, and then pushing them to take themselves on!

    As I like to say, Every flower is different. Yet all grow under one sun.


  12. You hit the nail on the head Darren! As a Success Educator, I have seen this first hand. It is so rewarding to develop people’s true human potential….leadership is a powerful commodity and it can be learned by those that are willing to leave their old thinking behind, and have the desire to live into their potential.

  13. Hi there Darren
    This is a great post. Enlightening in many ways and definitely emphasising the pressure of change that is all around us in the 21st Century. Saying even that – 21st Century – is an awakening. During the 1970’s we all envisaged 1999 and 2000 to be all space ships and death races! But the real change has been in technological advancement. Amazing changes over time and daily, gradual creeping change that can overwhelm us if we do not keep up.

    So special gifts and attributes are needed by our leaders…and it seems to me, our leaders get younger everyday! Each of us needs to lead our own ship and help others as we do so….that’s what I love about my blogging community. Each blogger a leader in their own right….different topics and niches….still helping one another out.

    Pleased I found your blog, Darren.
    Best wishes


  14. Thanks Darren for reply.
    First of all I try to find out what interests and concerns my pupils most ( I give private English classes to teenagers) and build the lesson around their likes ( though often it is rather tough as teenagers themselves do not quite realize what they like or dislike) – treating them as subjects of the process. I also attempt to encourage them when they succeed in this or that task and show them they are capable of doing even better. VErbal encouragement together with some small gifts on special occasions also some language games can light the desire for learning more.
    What concerns other spheres, I also always try to spur and inspire with ideas and set others into motion by taking into account what they want – be it a friend or a relative. Sometimes even a single word can burn a spark of inspiration in a person, so I am in a search for the right word:)

  15. Amazing and remarkable information to have during this fast moving age, where everyboby wants to be a leader but noboby wants to do what it takes to be a good leader, especially in our part of the world, Africa. Once again thank you so much Darren for the inspiration and especially for letting me know the late JIM ROHN, last year i bought his complete library thro a friend that came home to Nigeria. Thank you so much. I may see you some day or i may not see you, but to keep the memory of you alive in my heart, i named my second son that was born on 2th march 2011 Darren. Truly, you are living the meaning of that name, you are actually upholding the good and you are great in all standard. I wish the same for my son, i have no doubt in my heart, that thro your success magazine, JIM ROHN’S materials and materials by other personal development experts, i’ll be able to give two sons the much needed training inorder for them to better leaders in the future. Thanks.

  16. Great quote by Ben Franklin; America’s original entrepreneur… So Mister Hardy, besides his autobiography, are there any other books that you would recommend reading besides Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influcence People, Dan Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Jim Collins’ Good to Great, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention, Roger Fisher’s Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In and of course SUCCESS Magazine that you could recommend to help create these Leader Creators?

  17. Great quote by Ben Franklin, America’s original entrepreneur… So Mister Hardy, besides his autobiography, are there any other books that you would recommend reading besides Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influcence People, Dan Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Jim Collins’ Good to Great, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention, Roger Fisher’s Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In and of course SUCCESS Magazine to help create these Leader Creators?

  18. We live in exciting times don’t we?

    No matter who we are or what position we currently occupy, I love that this type of leadership is available to each of us. In fact, it’s required if one wants to achieve anything beyond mediocrity in this rapidly changing world.

    Thanks for shining the light on truly effective leadership.

  19. I am disappointed not to be able to attend Social Media for CEOs Boot Camp due to location. Given the topic, I wonder if participation via teleseminar could be arranged?

    Thanks for all the wonderful information on this site and in your magazines and CDs.

  20. I live in Wisconsin and I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE this idea! SO many of our “leaders,” both federal AND state, have no idea what it means to lead.

    I wonder if we would also have to send an employee to read it to them…

  21. I’m so pumped for what the future holds. I’m hoping to spend my future days flying around with my jet pack! We are living in very exciting times.

  22. Thank you for another inspiring post, Darren.

    I would argue the amount of “information” is doubling. Knowledge is the assimilation of information so we know (know-ledge) what to do with the information:

    1. Accumulate enough information that knowledge becomes possible
    2. Take action with that knowledge (lead!)
    3. Lead self and others to wisdom.

    The cycle repeats: knowing action leads to more information, which leads to more knowledge and greater wisdom. There is so much information raining down through various media forces, that people are becoming paralyzed and not taking action, instead retreating to what they already know and resisting knowledge and change.

    I know for me, that was the case; it was only when I “changed the world” by turning off the noise (COMPOUND EFFECT) that I was able to get the trickle of information I needed to grow my knowledge and more effectively lead.

  23. This is a great post! Im not surprised, You always keep me entertained, while sharing your knowledge and keeping me motivated. Thanks!

    Your Student
    John Gaudio
    Long Island N.Y.

  24. THanks Darren for a useful article!
    In my view leading is not ordering around and controlling. It has many more important aspects such as motivating people to do the work with pleasure. Whether you are an effective leader or not is estimated by whether people do their jobs with zest and enthusiasm or out of sheer necessity and for not being fired.

  25. Thanks for the interesting and very useful article!
    I think that leadership is a talent the seeds of which we all bear within us from the birth – to lower or higher extent. And it is up to us whether they will languish or developed and cultivated.
    But leading is not just controlling and ordering around ( as many people consider) – it is stimulating and inspiring others to pursue their professional goals in particular and the company goals altogether. SO in my view one of the most important aspects of leadership is motivation.

  26. Hey Darren,

    Thanks for this. Really great insight. Leaders in this generation will have graduated through the challenges of personal and self leadership, they will have maintained their integrity to a place where they are able to have the respect of and develop the leaders around them. I love it. A focussing on human capital. Growing people.



  27. Absolutely~! it is so easy to fall into the complaints that My Life is the result of.., The Economy., or., My Company., or even My Family / Parents.

    By adopting the attitude that we lead by example and then go beyond that to empower Leadership in those around us, then we create Our Reality.

    Good stuff.,

  28. Great thoughts!. I’ve always felt that you can get old like a turtle or you can grow old making a difference. In today’s society, with my J.O.B., I hear grown adults stating how their dire circumstances are everyone in society’s fault but, there own. I thought we went backwards in mentality when we became senior citizens. I concur with you that great Leaders Lead by example. Our new CEO, hides in his office, guess he never read Lee Iococa’s book in regards to leadership and leading GM out of their dire circumstances. I believe when we the people take full responsibility for our direction, that’s when the country as a whole will lift itself up again!.

  29. “Ultimately the leaders who will succeed going forward will be those who can build leadership in others. ”

    We need to focus and emphasize this point more and more. It is clear to me that the “true” leaders understand this unequivocally. I learned recently that the USMA (West Point) is the World’s Premier Leadership Institution. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Great post Mr Hardy! Now you really have my attention as I have been lobbying my employer for years for this kind of leadership. Great leaders focus on three things:
    1) Leaders INVEST more into others than they expect to receive in return. They invest their time, energy, and most importantly their CONFIDENCE in the people that they lead.
    2) Use the 5:1 rule. For every one thing that I have to tell an employee that they DO NOT want to hear, I find at least 5 things to tell them that they DO want to hear. Constant praise and positive reinforcement is the most powerful tool that a leader has to work with. Why not use it?, and
    3) Stop giving people responsibility without authority!! Eisenhower said: “Give people a job to do, then stay out of their way and let them do it!!” Micromanaging is not only ineffective, it is degrading, humiliating and counter productive! If we focus on the word PEOPLE in the concept of leading people we can see that until we treat them as PEOPLE and not paid slaves, we can never get their full buy in!!
    Thanks again for this very relevant post and have a magical week!!

  31. What do you do to build leaders around you?

    First, I select people that are hungry for excellence, to learn, get better, & help others. We align goals & I continuously lead by example, educate, empower, & instill accountability.

    How do you not only lead the people around you, but build them into independent leaders of their own?

    I always lead by example, each day I give it my best, learn from my mistakes, & get better. As the owner & CEO, this sets the standard for excellence. As far as building a team of independent leaders, I continuously educate, empower, & instill accountability. I do not watch over their back & trust, trust, & trust them with more responsibility. And most important the bottom line is they know that they are valued & appreciated.

    Excellent topic! Thanks, Darren.

  32. Great article Darren! It seems our species will need to be chameleon like to adapt and overcome. I hope the new leader subscribes to Success and sees that wealth is truly in giving and not receiving.

  33. Darren, please send 100 complimentary copies of the latest issue of “Success Magazine” for distribution to the U.S. Senate. It would do a “world of good”! Then publish a list of Senators who subscribed to the magazine wo we know who to vote for at the next election!

    What a difference it could make in the world!

  34. Darren, I believe leaders emerge from their experiences and how they handle them or how they learn to fail. This particular issue has inspired my next blog post on Friday Mar 11. I may use your section “Today, the speed of change demands a completely different leader” to address our young leaders and some tips for parents on how to engineer an environment to create leaders early on (oh, and have fun too).

  35. I believe true and honest leaders are born and not made, The reason I say so is because a lot of people in leadership are role playing as oppossed to being themselves. You can read all the books that have been written on leadership,but if it doesn’t come from your heart and soul, failure is imminent. Leaders like Jim Rohn where just doing what there were supposed to do thats why there and the Brian Traceys and so on are top of the leadership hireachy. That kind of leadership is not duplicable.If you have leadership blood running in you leading is as natural as breathing oxygen.

  36. Fantastic infromation,but are we saying that because you belong to certain demograhic leadership would be easy or easier? Leaders are born with that trait and not moulded. If you just be..and not role play as what we witness in a lot of current leadership a lot more people would be insipired to take the bull by the horns so to speak and be in charge of their own lifes. Neglect is what we should be tackling I believe as there is this mindset that it’s not my fault someone else should clean it up. Obesity is taking young lifes and everyone blames the fast food chains or the goverment when really and truelly as your own leader and your family’s and community we should be taking charge.You could be 99years old and still develop a ground breaking opportunity.It’s never too late to become a leader it only takes the right timing and heartfull call of action.

  37. Reminds me of John Maxwell’s book “360 Degree Leader”, one who inspires others to follow from the bottom-up, top-down, or horizontal is the leader. The person at the top is not always the one leading, but the one who connects with others to help them advance their goals by buying into his or her goal.

  38. I am with you on that Sarah!! I started last year and I love every minute of my personal development. Its almost hard staying humble because I notice such a huge difference in myself now than in recent years! I’m always pumped up too :-) Keep at it!

  39. I love how this article defines leadership not as a single individual leading many, but instead as individuals who “build leadership in others”. As part of the millennial generation I am excited that the personal development I am engaged in now will help me when I officially enter the workforce. Thank you for this post!

  40. Your post is right on target, Darren. Heart-centered leadership is the only way to attain true success. When we embrace caring for others as a pre-requisite for leading, the task is not so daunting – then we can inspire others to their magnificence.

  41. Great post on Leadership and becoming a Leader by building a team of Leaders. Succeeding by helping others succeed.

  42. Great peice Darren, the leadership concept actually spelled out as you did is invaluable!

  43. Hey Darren;

    I love this concept, inspiring others to lead. And not just in the corporate reference and framework, but in every day Life, among friends and Family members and then even more, on a Community & Global level.

    Inspiring & empowering others (all of US) to be Leaders is KEY. This will undoubtedly be a driving factor in our “new” emerging Global Society, fueled by the connectivity and rapid dissemination of ideas for change and the spread of new Knowledge.

    Carry that Torch with Pride~!

  44. Great post Darren! Leadership is surely a subject that many preach but so few walk. The part of this post that struck me most was leading “through the network” compared to the “hierarchy”. And you blew my mind with the stats on how fast technology will double itself in the coming years.

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