Is America sinking into third-world status? We certainly don't need to be reminded of our dismal economy, the rapid rise of personal and business bankruptcies, the weakening of the stock market and our increasing debt and worsening debt ratings. But we should all be aware that immigrants from Brazil, China, India and S. Korea (and others) are especially surprised by the childish bickering of our politicians and the lack of leadership from America's corporations. While America's leaders figure it out, these developing countries, in particular, are growing fast and turning out many entrepreneurs.
The end game? Third world countries emerge as new world leaders and the founders of many Fortune 500 companies. There's a lot we can all learn from developing countries that are still sending their top talent into the United States. They build a pipeline for personal and professional development and then train those in their mother countries how to best see and seize opportunity in America. America was founded by immigrants, and now once again immigrants are poised to change this country.
This immigrant journey is exactly what my father accomplished and it was his immigrant values that allowed him to successfully make the transition from Cuba into the United States. My father graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University in the early 1930's. When he returned to Cuba he dedicated himself to his passion for music and became a famous Latin musician, radio and television personality. His quartet, Los Llopis, was the first to integrate American Rock N Roll into the rhythms and sounds of Cuban music. My father was the originator of crossover music. After a successful music career he reinvented himself by focusing his efforts on his original passion and became a chemist for the Miller Brewing Company where he was 1 of the 3 original chemists that formulated Miller Lite. Thus my father represents a common theme about immigrants: they are proficient at mastering the ability to see and seize opportunity: they earn serendipity.
In a recent blog, I outlined the six (6) characteristics that define the immigrant perspective on business leadership and why they represent the essential skills for all business leaders in 2012. This is not another "trend list" that you should consider. This is the only list you should memorize, fully embrace and dedicate yourself to become proficient at for the next 5 years. Why? Because these six (6) characteristics represent the immigrant values that originally made America great until greed, distrust and short-term leadership got in the way. And what can potentially allow America and its people to rise back to the top.
In 2009, I published my first book, Earning Serendipity, which introduced the immigrant perspective on business leadership. Earning serendipity is the ability to simultaneously see, sow, grow and share opportunities that matter in order to cultivate innovation. At the time of my book's release, I thought it was a message that America and its leaders were not ready to accept, but should be considering. In fact, the title was changed a few times until I realized that earning serendipity was the best representation of what our country had forgotten to do over the course of the past decade when America started to rapidly outsource its most valuable assets, forget about its talent pool, and reengineer business processes to cut costs in order to make those at the top wealthier. As our economic bubble inflated and lines of credit were easy to obtain, people became self-satisfied, grew lazy and lost their hunger to compete.
Earning serendipity was a term I coined to represent innovation, humanity, prosperity, momentum, opportunity mastery, sustainable growth, cultural intelligence, social entrepreneurship, individuality, corporate social responsibility, hard work and the urgency of now! Principals that allow individuals, businesses, society and the economy to flourish regardless of whether or not we were living in uncertain times. It took me nearly 15 years to write this book because it took my father 10 years to tell me the stories and teach me the principles and values of the immigrant perspective; and another 5 years to put them into practice so that I could refine them and design the methodology that I could use to teach others how to do the same.
I urge you to reflect back on your immigrant past. Reach out to your parents and grandparents. Ask them to recite their immigrant journey, their struggles of independence and fight for opportunity. Carefully take notes and begin to understand and respect those that came before us. Everyone in America comes from an immigrant past, yet we quickly forget about the rich heritage and legacies that represents.
The American dream needs to be redefined. Its new mantra should be that the American dream is only available to those that are eager to earn serendipity by living their immigrant values so that America itself can reclaim its competitive advantage and prosper once again.
Are you ready to assume the responsible of earning serendipity by reconnecting with your immigrant values? Put your intentions to the test and take the following assessment that will accurately measure your ability to see, sow, grow and share opportunities that matter.
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