Let's face it - the GFC was financially crippling for many companies and individuals around the world - but the Global Leadership Challenge should be more concerning as it has the potential to be even more devastating if it isn't addressed and reversed.

Gallup research shows that the single most important factor for our economic survival is discovering and nurturing entrepreneurial talent and building on people's strengths. Imagine how the world would change if we nurtured the unique talents and strengths of individuals from school, to university, right through to workplaces rather that try to force everyone into the same cookie cutter, get a good education, get a good job, do as you're told mould.

What we would see would be a generation of entrepreneurs, in touch with their uniqueness, starting new businesses, employing others, taking risks and creating new products and services that serve customers and communities.

Instead we are facing a GLC. As Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup suggests, "the deaths of businesses now outnumber the births of businesses." Businesses with one or more employees are the engine of economic growth in all countries around the world and yet the leading global economic powerhouse - the US is seeing an larger number of businesses dying and closing down than those starting up (470,000 versus 400,000).

Sadly, the leaders of our nations, political systems and corporations are still creating legislation, taxation and policies that favour the big end of town. We need to stop pinning our future on large corporations and instead create a culture that encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, that helps people get in touch with their unique strengths and grows more Expander Leaders.

Why Expander Leaders? Because they:

    create more leaders – they are of service
  • are more likely to discover the Uniqueness (I call it the UQ) in every single person they work with and then align their strengths with their roles (they know people are more successful when working with their dominant, natural talents)
  • spend time planning for and focusing on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.
  • give control, not take control
  • create environments of cooperation and collaboration, not competition
  • are more likely to light the spark of entrepreneurial leadership in others, not create more compliant follower employees.

Given half of all the jobs in most cities are created by small businesses, city leaders should be encouraging new business start-ups. Creating entrepreneurial incubators, shared space hubs, supportive policies and environments that reduce the red tape and barriers to launch a small businesses should be one of their key priorities.

In my own hometown city of Newcastle Australia - a start-up incubator called Slingshot is in operation. Founded in 2012, Slingshot has run two programs to date making 13 investments in start-up businesses. Slingshot offers seed capital, co-working space, access to mentors and corporates and a 12 week training program designed to accelerate the company to market.

This is a great start to beginning to address the GLC locally but it is no where near enough to create real change and momentum. Despite the glowing student reports, positive public relations from corporates and educators, in relative terms, only minimal financial support has been secured for the program. Instead the city's money whether from private or corporate investment, continues to go to blue chip investments that are tried and proven - it's a "me before we" culture.

Instead we need to encourage a new wave of leadership foresight and be willing to change our focus for the benefit of our future growth, prosperity and sustainability. As Simon Sinek states, real fulfillment comes from serving those who serve others. Isn't it time we all started doing our bit to address the GLC by either investing in, supporting, serving or starting our own entrepreneurial venture? The future of our cities depends on it. I encourage you to #startwithU.

Author's Bio: 

CEO, UQ Power and International Company Culture Coach, Heidi Alexandra Pollard says her team are red hot, refreshing renegades, hunting down boring brands, stuck in a sea of sameness and charging them to power up their people, their presence and their profits. Their mission is to help elevate the global playing field for small to mid-sized companies through their unique brand and culture strategies that are easy on the finances, easy to implement and easy to sustain. http://www.uqpower.com.au