We’ve all likely heard the well-worn sayings time and time again, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and, better yet, “Let’s not reinvent the wheel.” In Chase Greatness: Enlightened Leadership for the Next Generation of Disruption, author Rajeev Kapur seeks to dispel that type of mentality among business leaders and introduce them to the theory of enlightened leadership.
Kapur weaves current events, historical examples, statistics, and his own personal experiences to make and support the argument that the business environment is changing and leaders have the choice to adapt to it or remain stagnant. The premise of Kapur’s book revolves around the growing influence of younger generations, most notably Millennials, who currently compose 39.4% of the workforce, and Gen Z, who will compose approximately 30% of the workforce by 2030 as more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching the age of 65 per day, according to Johns Hopkins University.
With this transition will come a wave of changes, as younger generations possess values and expectations that are different in significant ways from workers of the past. Above all else, these generations expect equality of advancement opportunities, participation, transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion from their leaders, and they won’t hesitate to walk away from a company if their leaders don’t communicate their values effectively and practice what they preach.
In the past, leaders may have been able to follow a profit-centric approach. However, younger generations require leaders to focus on the triple bottom line—profit, people, and the planet—being mindful of the environmental, social, and governance implications of the business in addition to the financial aspects. These generations who are students or in the early stages of their career cite “resistance to change” as a top reason why they don’t have confidence in leadership figures, and therefore Kapur makes the argument that embracing change is without a doubt the most important leadership competency for an enlightened leader to possess.
The book offers thoughtful insights, highlighting the need for adaptation and the adoption of new styles of leadership within the C-Suite and across management teams. The different components of enlightened leadership are then broken down one by one, with suggestions for successful implementation and a discussion of potential workplace benefits. Each chapter ends with a succinct leadership lesson and thought-provoking questions, which can help leaders to drive action, efficiency, and improved morale within their organization. I view this book as valuable for aspiring and current leaders to read and reflect on to improve their leadership skills and determine whether they’re doing enough to attract, retain, develop, and mentor young talent.
As a member of Gen Z and someone who recently began my own corporate accounting career, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Kapur throughout the book as he mentioned what people of my generation are looking for in an employer. One point in the book that’s crucial for leaders to recognize is that to younger generations, a job isn’t merely a job. Most of us are purpose-driven individuals, energized by sustainability-focused organizations that adopt a mission beyond the profit motive and help employees to feel as though our work has a larger purpose and makes a positive impact on all stakeholders. To many of us, profits and purpose must move in tandem with one another, and if leaders embody this thinking and prove to us—not just with their words but also with their actions—that they’re aligned with our vision for what a company and leaders should be, then they’ll likely garner a long-term commitment from us for them and the organization as a whole.