After thirty years of global business experience as an operating executive, corporate vice chairman, board chairman, and CEO— working with more than a hundred operations in more than thirty countries—I decided to slow down a bit and stop working for somebody else. Accordingly, I founded Global Advisors, LLC, to give strategic advice to companies interested in cross-border transactions involving the intersection of business strategy, technology, and cultural issues. This was a sweet spot for me because of my academic training and global experience.
In order to stay current when giving strategic advice, I took to studying potential “firms of the future.” In these studies, I found mounting evidence that future work would be accomplished in a far different manner. Because of globalization and technology, there were likely to be fewer workers required in a more technology-dominated, highly productive global workplace. The following question came to mind: how are we preparing young people for this potential new reality? This was in the early 2000s, and the answer was, we weren’t.
I joined several business school academic advisory boards to try to create awareness, but introducing new mental models is a difficult process. Through a string of events, I met John Fry as he became president of Drexel University. Here was a man at the top of a university who clearly understood that education needed to promote a much greater degree of entrepreneurship. To this end, he supported an initiative by the then associate dean of the Drexel LeBow School of Business, Donna DeCarolis, to raise funds to found the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship—the first freestanding, degree-granting school of entrepreneurship independent of a university business school. After only five years, our Close School team attained a top-twenty-five ranking in entrepreneurship education.
Mounting US workforce data makes it clear—ahead of student awareness and career preparation—the greatest societal need lies with the current workforce’s awareness of how rapidly earning a living is changing and how much entrepreneurship and its attendant skill set can help. If current accelerating trends continue, one could speculate a majority of the current US workforce will never be able to comfortably retire and many will find themselves as contract workers. Hence this book. It is intended to be a relatively short read creating awareness of each topic and, hopefully, raising reader interest to dig further.