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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Metrics for World Leaders

By Jim Clifton, Gallup Chairman and CEO

World leaders need more than just GDP and other traditional economic metrics to run their countries. Indicators like GDP remain important, however, today’s leaders need to know much more than how much people are spending -- leaders need to know what people are thinking. GDP isn’t enough if you are watching for instability, and GDP certainly isn’t enough if you are trying to figure out levels of hunger, hopelessness, or suffering.

Recent events bear this out. Institutes worldwide knew GDP was rising in Tunisia and Egypt. They knew what 11 million Tunisians and 80 million Egyptians were buying and selling -- but they didn’t know what they were thinking. As a result, revolutions in those countries came as a shock.

Arguably, no institution of leadership foresaw the most significant events in recent memory because these institutions tend to use backward-looking metrics -- the trailing indicators that are classical economics. They build leadership strategies with “after the fact” data.

To help solve this rather serious problem facing world leaders, Gallup presents the first-ever “Global States of Mind: New Metrics for World Leaders.” The report was presented to global leaders and ambassadors in October at the Meridian Global Leadership Summit. It provides all world leaders in government, business, and NGOs with a new set of more timely, forward-looking economics on what their citizens are thinking.

Here’s a glance at who is the best and the worst in the world, not counting statistical ties, on the key metrics included in this report:

Gallup plans to provide a global report on these metrics every year. And we will continuously report to the world when we see shifts of interest -- so that leaders have the information they need to lead their nations toward a better future.

Explore the complete report.

Learn more in our World Poll Knowledge Center.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Time for America to Go to Entrepreneurship School

by Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education

Here’s a new, old idea for America: Let’s identify, recruit, develop, and make a welcoming home for all the entrepreneurs in the world. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again. But to do it again, it will require all of us to go back to entrepreneurship school.

Gallup Chairman and CEO, Jim Clifton, has sent leaders worldwide back to their drawing boards on job creation with his book The Coming Jobs War. What Gallup has learned, and what Jim has convincingly argued, is that new job creation is almost entirely in the hands of small and medium-sized businesses. In other words, it’s all about startups and shoot-ups. And those come from entrepreneurs.

America’s economic engine rises and falls on the backs of entrepreneurs. The cities and countries with more entrepreneurs win. It’s that simple. And yet everyone is missing this point. This year’s presidential election was a good example: Americans cited “the economy” as their number one issue. The candidates spent billions of dollars making the case that their plan for the economy was better. And yet, throughout all the debates and all the ads, there was barely a mention of entrepreneurs.

If we want to win the coming jobs war, or at least avoid getting wiped out by China, we need to create the world’s most potent entrepreneurial talent pipeline. This pipeline is our education system. And in it, everyone counts: K-12 public schools, private schools, charters, colleges and universities, and all the vocational training programs. But our current system not only fails to embrace entrepreneurs -- in many ways it holds them back.

Gallup’s findings on entrepreneurs tell us they are not typically the kids with the best grades, the kids who pay the most attention in class, or the kids who follow the traditional education paths. If we made this idea of becoming the world’s “entrepreneurial talent pipeline” a national priority, we’d start by reimagining and reinventing our entire education system. And we’d want to move real fast. So, in particular, we’d focus on building alternative pathways through our educational system that identify and develop entrepreneurial talent in the same way that we identify and develop sheer IQ and knowledge tests. The SAT would have a new counterpart -- the ETA (Entrepreneur Talent Assessment) -- and there would be scholarships and special programs for entrepreneurs.

This is not a crazy idea. In fact, Gallup has just launched a scientifically valid assessment of entrepreneurial talent, one which provides developmental guidance for the entrepreneur and for their mentors and teachers.

The first school Gallup is rolling this program out to is not Harvard, nor Princeton, nor any of the traditional names most of us may think about. It’s the International Culinary Center -- one of the most prestigious and productive culinary schools in the world. They have been the launch pad of many world-renowned chefs, and they will soon be seen as a rocket for new job creation. You see, chefs are entrepreneurs. The success of their restaurants depends on how well they can cook and on whether they are good at starting and running a business. Culinary schools have always taught cooking. Now, the International Culinary Center is not only developing entrepreneurs as part of their curriculum, but also looking to identify and recruit them.

Vocational training in the U.S., tragically, has a negative connotation. It’s seen as second or third place to college. But that’s about to change. Vocational training is entrepreneurship. And entrepreneurship is the hottest ticket on the planet. Farmers, restaurateurs, and trades such as electricians and plumbers – all of them entrepreneurs. You don’t need a degree to start a company. But if we do this right, we’ll have a lot more entrepreneurs with degrees and trade skills, simply because we engineered these programs to embrace them and their talents, as opposed to neutralizing or marginalizing them.

All educational institutions can and must move in the direction of embracing entrepreneurs, but those who move fast will win the most talent, prestige, and alumni financial windfalls. Vocational programs have a history of moving real fast. And they will be leading the way in getting America back to entrepreneurship school.

In the meantime, Gallup is ready to play our role in identifying all the entrepreneurial talent in the country, and that starts with our entrepreneurial talent pipeline -- aka schools. 

Listen Up: The Coming Jobs War Now Available as Audio Book

What everyone in the world wants is a good job.

In his provocative book for business and government leaders, Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton describes how this undeniable fact will affect all leadership decisions as countries wage war to produce the best jobs.

And as of today, busy leaders can listen to The Coming Jobs War audio book while on the go. You can download The Coming Jobs War audio book here.

Leaders of countries and cities, Clifton says, should focus on creating good jobs because as jobs go, so does the fate of nations. Jobs bring prosperity, peace, and human development -- but long-term unemployment ruins lives, cities, and countries.

Everyone from U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to the National Governor's Assocation, local government and university leaders are discussing Clifton's findings and how they can create good jobs and cultivate entrepreneurs in their communities. 

To learn more about how Gallup helps leaders create sustainable economic growth, visit the Gallup Job Creation Knowledge Center.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gallup at White House Education Event: Standardized Testing is Holding Us Back

“Putting 100% of our eggs in the basket of standardized testing is absolutely the wrong approach to education,” posits Executive Director of Gallup Education Brandon Busteed. Busteed delivered this hard-hitting message to a room full of top education leaders, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, at the first ever "Education Datapalooza," hosted last month by the White House and Department of Education.

In education, “our biggest problem is actually our focus on the problem,” said Busteed. Education leaders are mainly focused on what is wrong with schools, how ineffective our teachers are, and what our students don't know. It is time to change this, according to Busteed, and focus instead on cultivating students’ strengths -- not fixing their weaknesses.

“People who become successful didn't get that way by focusing on improving weaknesses. They found out what they were good at --their innate talents-- and they turned those talents into strengths by putting them to work every single day," Busteed explained.

Busteed argued that education leaders should drastically reduce the U.S. educational system’s current focus on standardized testing. Schools and teachers should instead spend the majority of their time delivering “individualized and personalized” education by building students' educational experiences around their innate talents.

For more information on how Gallup gives education leaders tools and advice to help teachers, students, and schools succeed, visit the Gallup Education Knowledge Center.

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