Where does talent come from? This is a question demanding the attention of all concerned about leadership.
According to Kenny Moore, the co-author of "The CEO and the Monk: One Company's Journey to Profit and Purpose" (John Wiley and Sons, 2004), there is a best practice business model for growing leadership, but it's not from the management gurus like Tom Peters or Jim Collins.
According to Moore:
"It's from another astute business luminary: Plato. Granted, as a 4th century B.C. practitioner, he was in a different kind of business than today's experts, but over the years his books have outsold anyone who's ever been on Ophrah.
Plato's view of Leadership derives from his "Acorn Theory." In a nutshell, here's how it works.
All of us are born into this world with an "acorn" that is destined to grow into a mighty oak. This acorn is often referred to as our calling, vocation or destiny. Before arriving here, we were perfectly clear on what our calling was - but in the process of being born all remembrances were lost. Plato believed that the gods send us here with a precise destiny; we just can't remember what it is. To help manage this dilemma, we are accompanied by our own "daimon," loosely translated as a Guardian Angel. It's our angel who remembers our vocation and is individually assigned to make sure it gets lived out.
Peril and misfortune may assail us. Enemies and miscreants may assault us. Parents and educators may even abuse us. No need to worry; the acorn will prevail. The daimon is ever near to insure a safe passage. For some, says Plato, the dangers and difficulties have elements of divine necessity: all required to mature the acorn, crush it underfoot … so that it may blossom into a mighty oak. Gods don't waste time on fruitless endeavors. The Divine has a pre-ordained master plan in place.
Similar to Churchill's description of Russia, the acorn is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But lack of clarity doesn't let us off the hook. Living out our acorn and cooperating with the daimon is of critical importance because our happiness is intimately connected to it. Money, fame and success will not insure our personal fulfillment. Cooperating with our calling, will. And we are all invited to do so, and do it well. With our own flair; in our own inimitable style. We're not here to live out our parent's wishes or our company's Vision. We've got more compelling goals to achieve. " Question for Economic Developers: How will be ensure that we attract the best and brightest to work in the economic development field in the future? How do we compete for that talent?