Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

A New Look at Job Creation at Annual Chamber Dinner
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Oct 1, 2012, 12:13

photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup, delivered the keynote address at the 93rd Annual Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce Dinner.

The 93rd Annual Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce Dinner was a veritable who’s who in the region as government officials from Hopewell and Prince George talked with General Assembly delegates, local business owners and representatives from community organizations at the Lee Club on Thursday night.

They were there to be briefed on what Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, a leader in organizational consulting and public opinion research, predicts will be the disputed territory in the next world war: good jobs.

“The will of the United States 75 years ago had to do with peace, freedom, having family, independence...all of those nice, basic American values,” he said.

Since then, the primary goal of most adults, throughout the world, has shifted to having a good job.

“It’s a huge sociological shift,” he said.

That shift, and how it will affect job creation, is the subject of Clifton’s latest book “The Coming Jobs War.”

The current problem, he said, lies in the fact that there are 3 billion adults who want 1.2 billion jobs, Clifton told his audience.

He said that the United States, which currently represents about 25 percent of the $60 Trillion worth of global wealth, will struggle to stay competitive and maintain the position the country has become accustomed to in the future.

“We’re going broke,” he said.

He said the problem is rooted in misunderstanding.

“Leadership in the United States has made a huge miscalculation about where jobs come from,” he Clifton said, arguing that leaders have assumed the success of the last 30 years has been the result of innovation.

Because of that, billions of dollars have been pumped into innovation, leaving intellectual leaders with inventions that have no one to make people want to buy them.

“This is what nobody in Washington, nobody in America, nobody in the world knows,” he said. “innovation has no value whatsoever until the customer is standing next to it.”

Clifton argued that the situation is akin to putting the horse behind the cart. Entrepreneurs have to pull innovation forward, not the other way around, he said.

“You’ve got nothing until you throw it out to entrepreneurs,” he said of innovations.

Clifton argued that business leaders need to be developed in as focused a way as scientific innovators.

“At the very end of the day, what this is, all around the world, is a race for who can develop humans faster than everybody else,” he said.

Currently, he argued, the country is operating off backwards assumptions that need to be straightened to create a strong economy in the next 30 years.

Clifton also advised that leaders in the local area look at cities throughout the country and identify successful ones to model their own communities after.
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Prince George High School senior Nathan Britt presented a thank you gift to keynote speaker Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup. The basket contained a collection of locally made and sold items to celebrate the region.

The presentation left an impression on one future leader in the room. Prince George High School senior Nicholas Britt spoke after Clifton, thanking him for his advice.

“I’d like to thank you on behalf of all of us for issuing such a challenging, powerful message to America,” he said. “I will certainly be recommending the coming jobs war to my friends as it applies so much to our future.”

Chamber Executive Vice President Becky McDonough said that she asked Clifton to speak because she felt the issues he described in his latest book were issues local communities and businesses have experienced.

She said she hoped the speech would inspire attendees.

“The folks that are running companies hopefully will go back feeling that what they’re doing is so valuable, and that if they can keep doing it, and do it even with more determination, that that’s good for America and good for our region,” she said.

Dr. Kim Evans, Superintendent of Instruction for Hopewell Public Schools, said Clifton’s ideas about developing leaders resonated with her.

“I think it was very inspiring when you think about his message about leadership, developing leaders today,” she said. “I think he really hit the nail of the head with his comments.”

Clifton began his speech by talking about the formation of the Gallup organization and its goal to keep its finger on the pulse of the American people, to find out what was on their hearts and minds by finding facts and figures to reflect that.

Jane McCullen, President of the Hopewell Historic Foundation, liked the elements of that legacy included in Clifton’s speech.

“I’m a statistics person and I liked the statistics that he gave because I really do think we should know about the statistics before we make leadership decisions,” she said. “I liked that very much.”

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