A Case For Funding In Support Of : Leaders Expedition (LEx)
The last prospectus prepared to solicit funding for LEx.
Closer than ever: It is 100 seconds to midnight
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Washington, D.C. • January 23, 2020
“Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers — nuclear war and climate change — that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode. ”
Capitalism in crisis: U.S. billionaires worry about the survival of the system that made them rich
Washington Post, April 20, 2019
Has Our Luck Run Out?
Most crucial problems today are global in nature and can be dealt with only by a global coalition.
“We have never had a greater need for the E.U. and the U.S. to be led by people motivated by enlightened self-interest, who appreciate that virtually every problem destabilizing the world in this plastic moment is global in nature and can be confronted only with a coalition that is global. But instead, we are saddled with leaders who are much more adept at breaking things than making things — at going for broke rather than making the best of the bad. It just feels like our luck is running out.” Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, April 30, 2019
We live in an age of abundance .
There has NEVER been a better time to be alive.
However, exponential advances in science and technology – and their impact on civil society -are creating a divide between those excited by the future and those who are afraid of it.
The same technologies that promise to liberate humanity threaten to constrain it.
The next 10-20 years marks an unprecedented pivot point for humanity, one path an ascent to limitless human possibility , the other to the evil of autocratic mediocrity .
The nexus problem is an insufficiency of leadership that is systemic and global.
The meta solution is to connect , empower and mobilize a new cohort of leader-creators that is purposefully prepared to assume the mantle of leadership - systemically and globally to change the way leaders lead and thus transform the world. In just 10 years.
This existential challenge requires an exponential solution, a Manhattan Project scale initiative.
That is Leaders Expedition. If these assumptions viscerally resonate, then you will find the next 10 minutes to be an important perhaps world making - use of your time. This is NOT a conventional request for funding.
Our Moonshot Goal
One million LEx Leaders in positions of influence, power, and impact by 2030 : from classrooms to boardrooms to legislatures. To change the way leaders lead.
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Bob Westrope is the Founder and Executive Director of Leaders Expedition TM (LEx TM ), a not-for-profit , secular , non-partisan , global community of leader-creators committed to systemically remaking leadership narratives , cultures , and practices .
LEx is activating a diverse community of a ccomplished people representing academia , business , the arts , science , technology and culture , and providing them the platform and tools to redefine the practice of leadership - and consequently leadership cultures and narratives - in the workplace, in our communities, and around the world.
Federally incorporated in Canada in 2015 as a non-profit organization, LEx has 600 + members resident in 35 countries and has substantively defined and tested the core elements of its value proposition. Over 20,000 hours of volunteer time from over 100 members has been invested in the development and testing of the LEx value proposition.
LEx has been seed funded by the Founder with a non-recoverable loan of US$ 400,000.
The financial support of a visionary patron, one prepared to be the first of a community of such leaders is being sought to assure that this uniquely powerful – and urgently needed movement – can leverage, refine, and consolidate its position to ignite viral global deployment in pursuit of its existentially vital objective. We ask you to help us seize our moment, this moment in history – by providing LEx with a commitment to fund our venture with the first US$10,000,000.
Humanity is at a pivot point in history. Exponential advances in technology are profoundly reshaping the human condition in all areas – social, economic, political, environmental, spiritual, and security. Such an age promises to liberate humanity to seize the fullest potential of the human spirit and intellect. It also threatens, in equal measure, to nurture forces of ignorance that could set the stage for the entrenchment of kleptocracies positioned to manipulate the new levers of power – data, knowledge and information. One path leads to enlightened possibilities , the other to dystopian greyness .
These pressing global issues have attracted many prominent initiatives to architect solutions. Despite the best intentions of well-meaning individuals, institutions, and organizations, coherent, sustained progress on these issues has yet to be demonstrated. This is due to the lack of sustained and shared efforts through community self-actualization and mobilization that focuses on a systemic and global leadership insufficiency - the root cause of the issues we see today.
Position & Objectives
Members of Leaders Expedition are united by the conviction that to address the issues facing the world today, a new kind of leadership is required – one inspired by the potential of our future rather than defined by the legacies of our collective pasts. LEx members envision a culture of leadership in which personal fulfillment, enterprise success, environmental sustainability, and social justice are the guarantors of prosperity in a world of abundance.
We do not pretend to have ‘the’ answer(s); rather, we believe that a global cohort of accomplished persons, if joined in a community and offered the requisite infrastructure, will devise the nuanced solutions needed to address complex opportunities and challenges for generations to come.
Accordingly, our objective is to Connect, Empower, and Mobilize this global community of leader-creators who embody and embrace the LEx Tenets (our Vision, Mission, Charter, Core Values and Membership Pledge – see Appendix A) to lead by example in their communities, their organizations, and the sectors within which they live and work.
We believe the community we create can only have the perseverance and power needed to succeed if its members first attend to each other’s needs – to balance enlightened self-interest with a joint commitment to global transformation. This is a key differentiator.
Moreover, the LEx community must be equipped for a generational moon-shot challenge – there are no silverbullet solutions to the complexity of issues underlying the root causes of reaction and resistance to modernism.
There is no denying the audacity of this venture. Nor however, is there any escaping the consequence of failure. Not unlike the total-war challenge faced by the Allies in 1940 in their fight against fascism, there is no option but to prevail . That is the reality we face today. And just like the protagonists of that conflict, we must approach the challenge we face with this generations’ Manhattan Project – an unqualified exertion of resource and effort to assure that the values of the LEx Tenets prevail. See Appendix B: Why The Manhattan Project As A Metaphor For LEx ?
If we accept that fundamental change must occur within 10 years, that is by 2030, then we must likewise accept that existing leadership structures, encumbered by their many legacy systems (laws, culture, language etc.) are not capable of adapting to the reality of the exponential impacts we are, and will soon face in enough time.
Only a concerted global effort that connects capital with a purpose-built model and infrastructure to empower and mobilize the diversity of accomplished persons of all generations, can create the leadership incubator/ accelerator necessary to defeat reactionism and assure the future of limitless possibilities we believe to be within humanity’s grasp.
Given the daunting complexity of the problem, the solution must be an organic , self-adapting eco-system that allows for limitless experimentation and rapid/ iterative development of countless solutions – not one answer that change the way leaders lead at the community and sectoral levels. By working to inform, educate and influence existing leadership structures to be sure, but more importantly, to insinuate new leaders into these structures over the next 10 years.
This requires not only the connection and mobilization of existing and prospective leaders, but vitally, the connection and mobilization of ultra-high net worth benefactors who believe in our assessment of the crisis of leadership, who accept our Tenets and who believe that our model provides for the prospect of success in a world of alarmingly few options .
The LEx Eco-system
The LEx eco-system will comprise three legal entities to start, Leaders Expedition (LEx) – the existing non-profit organization, LEx Learning – a new charitable organization and LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds a new for-profit social enterprise. To the external stakeholder, this eco-system will appear as a single entity, albeit with multiple operating units.
The intent is to create the highly flexible/adaptive infrastructure necessary to support the growth of an organization at least one million strong in 10 years, but more importantly one that has the resources – people, expertise, money, infrastructure – strong enough to prevail in a world of profound disruption and outdated power structures.
The proposed three-legged stool structure is the result of substantive discussions with legal and accounting counsel, as well as trusted subject matter experts – and of course, work with the incredible LEx membership over the past three years - however, given the nature of the model (three operating entities operating globally), it remains to confirm the exact structure until post-funding – that is when appropriate counsel can be engaged on a fully compensated basis. As a three-legged stool, it bears being explicitly clear - the value proposition ceases to function without ALL three legs.
I. Leaders Expedition (LEx)
This is the core – and at the moment the only – operating entity of LEx. Originally incorporated in Canada as a federal non-profit organization under the name Renaissance Expedition in July 2015, the name was changed to Leaders Expedition in July 2016.
The organization has grown to just 600 members, living in 35 + countries. It has been funded through an early crowdfunding initiative in 2017 netting approximately US$20,000, and since 2018, through the contributions of the founder treated as a non-recoverable loan of up to US$ 400,000 .
With no paid staff through to the end of 2018, nearly 20,000 hours of volunteer time has been invested by over 100 members in developing, testing and refining the value proposition – with special focus on the LEx Local and GlobalCircles.
It is planned that Leaders Expedition (LEx) will be the head office and operational nexus of the LEx eco-system, where the bulk of the support elements – and accompanying revenue streams – will reside.
While our focus as an almost exclusively volunteer operation has been the development and testing of the model - including member recruitment - which thus far has not been revenue generating, we believe that there are substantive revenue generating opportunities that would mean the entity should be revenue neutral within three years . The development of a meaningful revenue plan has been deemed to be beyond our current unfunded capability.
Having said that, we have been working to a five-year pathway (see Appendix C) based on the assumption that by that time we would have a minimum of 350,000 members.
The following comprise the current and planned activities of Leaders Expedition (LEx) :
The LExHUB: Our Community Platform
The community we are building will be substantively defined by the platform on which it is founded. To date, we have built our existing community using a virtually free platform called MightyNetworks, which has proven to be insufficient to our needs. Accordingly, in March 2019 we subscribed to the Washington DC-based HigherLogic SaaS (software as a service) platform believing it to be the most robust, flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solution for our purpose– a proven offering with over 3,000 non-profit/association clients and 50 + million users in 21 countries. Being implemented in phases over the summer of 2019, by the Fall, the platform – importantly including powerful gamification and marketing automation capabilities - will support the initiatives and operations of all three legal entities with the following high-level features:
Special Initiatives (SI) management
Member professional profiles
LEx Museum of Leadership
The LExHUB needs to be perceived as the IT platform that will enable the LEx eco-system to be an incubator and accelerator of the LEx community and of the next generation of leader-creators, designed to promote massive , iterative experimentation and most importantly, learning . Only this way can we hope to connect , empower and mobilize the community and resources necessary to seize our moonshot objective.
LEx LocalCircles (LCs) and the Projects that they will sponsor, are the frontline impact agents of Leaders Expedition. The LEx LC is a self-forming and self-governing group of up to 12 individuals who represent the diversity of their community. Its members combine the proven benefits of business peer support networks with LExHub tools to activate personal and enterprise growth and to develop and manage the Projects that will both grow and empower the LEx community AND transform leadership culture where they live. Qualified Projects are intended to be liable for funding support from either or both LEx Learning and/or LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds – a critical differentiator, and success factor for Leaders Expedition (see discussion on LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds).
The LEx LC is founded and chaired by a volunteer Host and Community Animator . There can be multiple LCs in a town or city – so we anticipate hundreds to thousands of LCs forming.
The LC concept was developed and piloted in Toronto and is – with the support of one part-time staff member - now in the process of scaling up, with a new circle formed in Toronto, and with active start-ups underway in approximately 20 cities, from Whitehorse, to London to Nairobi and Washington DC.
If one assumes that in five years we will have 350,000 members, and a 25% participation rate in LC’s, then we would hope to have approximately 7,000 LocalCircles deployed and driving community impact by 202 5 (and over 20,000 LC’s in 20 30 ).
There is a high confidence that the model provides a sound foundation for commencement of scaling-up operations, however a key learning is that disciplined, diligent (ie. professional ) support and coaching is required to effectively leverage the energy and commitment of the volunteers offering to start and join the circles. This requires appropriately funded infrastructure to do so. This is a critical success factor .
In the same way that LEx LocalCircles are more than just venues for professional networking and furthering members’ personal and enterprise success at the community level, LEx GlobalCircles (GCs ) and the Branded and Themed SubCircles they will host, will, through their sponsored Projects create, nurture and support sectoral initiatives that grow the LEx community and advance leadership consistent with the LEx Tenets. LEx GCs will function primarily (but not exclusively) online and the Projects undertaken will fall into one or more of 14 permanent spheres-of-impact (and an infinite number of sub-circles). They are:
Arts & Culture
Business & Social Economics
Entertainment & Sports
Government, Politics & Public Sector
Health & Wellness
Journalism & News Media
Law, Social Justice & Public Safety
Learning & Education
National & Global Security
Philanthropy & Social Responsibility
Science & Technology
Sustainability, The Environment & Climate Change
Self-organized and volunteer run, each LEx GlobalCircle will recruit and be nominally led by a recognized Thought Leader in Residence . As the GCs mature, they will be the drivers of program development in concert with LEx Academe and the LEx Museum of Leadership that would include: MOOCs, conferences, symposia, retreats, or joint programs with academia and business.
A critical feature set is the concept of Branded and Themed SubCircles. Branded SubCircles will be offered free to any qualifying third party organization (for profit, social enterprise, non-profit, charity etc.) that wishes to use the enterprise-level functionality of the LEx HUB to support their own sub-membership - a unique and powerful community of communities. In turn, Themed SubCircles will be working groups addressing the many subsets of interests within any GlobalCircle.
Like LC Projects, qualified GC Projects are intended to be eligible for funding support from either or both LEx Learning and LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds (see discussion on LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds).
LEx Special Initiatives
There will be many instances where ad-hoc groups of individuals will want to come together from around the world (via LExHUB tools) to define and sponsor Special Initiatives – collaborative efforts targeted to specific challenges or opportunities that will be operated and held to account precisely the same as per the Project process/infrastructure. These will be tested in the Summer of 2019 and rolled-out in the Fall.
As noted above, it is anticipated that most revenue generation will reside within the current non-profit entity, and that we can be revenue neutral in three years. Per Appendices C and D, we believe the following to be obvious opportunities to generate revenue – and more importantly, drive impact:
Contracted Head Office Services to LEx Learning and LEx Leadership Accelerators Funds: It is intended that the head office, executive functions and som e operations (eg. LEx Acadame delivery) of the LEx eco-system would be resident in the non-profit organization, with the two sister entities covering proportionate costs. Given the evident legal/regulator y, tax/accounting and jurisdictional issues, the precise nature of inter-entity cost sharing and revenue generation remains to be defined.
LExHUB: Currently, membership is free – largely because we do not feel that adequate value has been available to the member to warrant a charge. However, with the migration to the new LExHUB – and the personal benefits such as Mentor Match, Talent Board, Member Storefronts etc. we believe that there is an opportunity to charge a fee. If one accepts the five-year target of 350,000 members, with 25% being non-paying, and the balance paying US $7.99 per month, then monthly subscription fees would be approximately $2.1 million per month, or $25 million per annum.
LEx Career Centre: Leaders Expedition has contracted with YM Careers - a business unit of Community Brands - a provider of Cloud-based software for 100,000 non-profit and association clients in 30 countries, to provide this customized, turn-key job board for our members. This is done on a revenue share basis which can lead to revenues of several millions of dollars per annum, with LEx earning 70% of each transaction.
LEx Events: The LEx eco-system clearly represents an event-rich offering, with the inevitability of a great many events being run locally, regionally and globally each year – from an annual Congress (see discussion following) to aggregations of LC and GC meetings. In addition to being integral value-adding instruments LEx community building and community and sectoral impact, these events represent a significant revenue generating opportunity – it should become a core competence, and defining differentiator of Leaders Expedition.
LEx Academe: LEx Acadame will, consistent with its charitable mandate (see below), provide structured and capacity building free choice learning programs for free (i.e. ‘sponsored by LEx Learning’) to target stakeholder groups in and outside of LEx using the LExHUB’s best-in-class Learning Management System. In turn, the non-profit entity will make the system available to qualified 3rd party members within LEx to offer their programming content on a fee-for-service or revenue share basis. Likewise, LEx will eventually develop a rich curriculum of proprietary programming for offer on the platform on a paid basis (see expanded discussion on LEx Acadame below).
LEx Congress: The first LEx Congress in April 2016 la the foundation for the current movement. A critical success factor is the holding of an annual event that: • socializes LEx to its members • provides for the governance of LEx (votes/ratifications etc.) • provides sharing of best practices/programming to members • provides a membership acquisition opportunity • creates annual media event around LEx Museum of Leadership awards/gala- with 15 GC Thought Leaders in Residence featured- prominent key note speakers While it is to be expected that the first event be unprofitable, the subsequent events should become bigger and higher profile, the import being that the Congress will become a key catalyst for, and accelerator of, LEx, but it should also represent a significant revenue generating event as well.
LEx ThinkTank: The LExHUB is purpose-built to facilitate the creation of thousands of connected circles – each a learning circle – with the express intent of extracting experience and knowledge that can then be quickly turned into information that can be leveraged and shared. This should give LEx a unique capability to assemble data into information that can be sold to both public and private sector stakeholders looking to profit from our growing expertise and point of view, and of then transforming leadership in their organization consistent with the LEx Tenets.
LEx Advisory: There are already many consultants, executive coaches and leadership development professionals amongst our members. An early initiative will be to develop certification content to be delivered through LEx Academe aimed at those wishing to be ‘LEx Certified’ consultants. In turn, these certified individuals could be organized and marketed to constitute our initial Advisory arm, also leveraging the tactical and meta learning referred to above to offer public and private sector stakeholders advisory services on a revenue share basis. Over time, dedicated staff will be added to the mix.
LEx Analytics: Events in recent years have made evident the negative impact of the use of AI/machine learning driven ‘Big Data’ (as per the 20 20 Doomsday Clock) . We believe that with the data and experience secured above, and the ability to secure multiple data points from our eco-system, we should be well situated to employ these new technologies to grow the LEx community far beyond our moonshot objective, but also to be an exemplar of the constructive use of Big Data in a for-profit context.
LEx Media: We anticipate that the online eco-system being built around the LExHUB and LEx Academe will generate a large amount of multi-media content, which can be packaged and sold. We believe the above represents the principle, but not the only revenue streams for the non-profit entity from merchandise (branded jewelry and other items), online bookstore to LExTALKs (our version of TED Talks), and the LEx Congress to nam a few.
II. LEx Learning – Charitable Organization
The second entity is a yet-to-be established charitable organization, with an equally powerful mandate that is the framing , distillation , packaging and dissemination of the knowledge that is secured through the LEx eco-system to as many internal and external stakeholders as possible - as quickly as possible - with the prime focus on leadership capacity building .
Accordingly, substantive discussions with lawyers, accountants and other subject matter experts resulted in the conclusion that the mission and operations described herein would be best offered within the framework of a Canadian-based charitable institution comprised in turn of two highly synergistic operating entities.
As previously noted, the entity would share senior management and infrastructure, with the non-profit entity, with eventual surplus revenues from the non-profit almost certainly treated as donations to the charity, and the charity likewise almost certainly engaging with the non-profit on a number of tactical and strategic initiatives.
Because of the very high public profile of LEx Acadame and the LEx Museum of Leadership , and the five year pathway we anticipate to truly and powerfully leverage both with a physical presence that would in fact be the home campus for the Leaders Expedition TM (LEx TM ) eco-system, the importance of this entity cannot be underestimated.
Importantly, LEx Learning intends to employ and be an exemplar of, the concept of free choice learning learning that is about deciding what, where, how and when we want to learn over our lifetime. It’s self-motivated learning that takes place all the time, augmenting and outside of, structured classroom learning systems.
LEx Acadame will start as an on-line facility utilizing the LExHUBs’ best-in-class Learning Management System , but it is anticipated it will evolve into a mix of on-line, multi-media and physical learning environments.
Morgan Simon’s foundational best-selling book, Real Impact: The New Economics Of Social Change , sets the context/imperative/opportunity we intend to substantively address:
“ Capacity Building and Startup Capital is Lacking for the 99 Percent – Capacity-building programs for social entrepreneurs to receive business training and access to funding are plentiful, but similarly limited to few, and typically only those who have already attained a high level of formal education can participate. For others who would like to get involved in social entrepreneurship, particularly to build their own, community-based businesses, the barriers to entry can be substantial.”
“ Social Education Is Not Being Taken As Seriously As Financial Education – The Industry treats social knowledge as extra-curricular - something ‘nice to have’ that can be learned and assessed intuitively, rather than a ‘must have’ that requires ongoing education and effort.”
The curriculum developed and refined that leverages the evolving knowledge and experience of the purpose-built LEx eco-system (think of the entire eco-system as a free choice learning system) , will be designed to provide both the LEx membership and the public with free, or low cost, and/or subsidized, learning programs that will also be accessible to currently marginalized populations.
LEx Academe provides hand-crafted learning experiences that help individuals understand, embrace, and advance humanity through their leadership.
LEx Academe will:
CONNECT participants with ideas and leaders who are changing the world.
EMPOWER participants to imagine and to create a better world.
MOBILIZE the knowledge and insights of the LEx eco-system into something actionable and impactful.
TRANSFORM individuals with ideas into leaders with vision.
LEx Academe is for:
Individuals who have grand ideas for the world, but don’t have the expertise or skills to move their ideas forward. This is often individuals early in their career.
Individuals in positions of authority who want to do more good with their authority. This is often mid-career people who “moved up the ladder” but now want to use their position for a greater good.
Individuals who have a strong vision and are in leadership positions but want to learn how to catalyze systemic change on a larger scale.
Individuals who want to explore and grapple with LEx leadership ideas, but aren’t in a position of committing to a unit of study.
It is considered imperative that ultimately LEx Acadame be in partnership with, and providing program content to, all levels of learning systems, from primary to post-graduate . Leadership is not a title; it is a belief system it is our job to assure that the LEx belief system of leadership that we have crafted by 2030 prevails.
LEx Museum of Leadership
History provides a limitless database of historical artefacts to be curated as exemplars of the LEx Tenets, by race, geography, age, faith gender and sector. These are the woman and men of all walks and stations of life – from Cleopatra to Martin Luther King - who in an obvious, and compelling way represent the community that we seek to build.
In so doing, we believe that a uniquely powerful tool can be created to illuminate the breadth and depth of the LEx brand and its promise, one that would inspire and inform the vital discussion of what it means to be a LEx Leader – driving profound synergies with LEx Academe and the whole of the LEx eco-system.
In Q3 2018, it was decided to develop an initial curation process to identify and select inductees into a new LEx Museum of Leadership, initially to be called The LEx Museum Project . The process was led by subject matter expert (and LEx Member) Judith Koke, Deputy Executive Director of the Portland, Oregon based Institute of Learning Innovation, and (among many other things) former Chief, Public Programs & Learning for the Art Gallery of Ontario. In turn, Ms. Koke and her team established initial criteria for selection, with over 200 historical figures displaying at least one of the following LEx attributes:
• Advancing Equality
• Bridging Divides
• Community Elevation
• Courage & Tenacity
• Environmental Stewardship
• Integrity & Core Values
• Leading by Example
• Personal Mastery & Authenticity
• Service for Others
• Unrelenting Curiosity
• Vision Making
In March of this year, the first 10 inductees were selected by her team, and were posted on-line at the LEx website. In announcing the museum project, Judith wrote:
“ This online museum is the earliest incarnation of what we intend to be a cornerstone of LEx. Here we begin to tell leadership stories, to discuss their relevance to our lives today, and learn from them and each other. But, imagine, just a few years from now, a pop-up museum in your city, and, eventually travelling to a bricks and mortar museum, the LEx Museum of Leadership. We begin with just 10 inductees from the relatively recent past, working for a diverse sample of individuals from around the world. We have developed a list of over 200 prospective inductees but expect to hear from all of our community – especially the GlobalCircles - about who we need to add, and importantly, how we do that. We hope these individuals provoke discussion and constructive criticism. Each individual is, as we all are, an imperfect human being, and yet demonstrate some leadership attribute that changed the course of the world. ”
As noted, we imagine the number of inductees to number in the hundreds, possibly even the thousands eventually (‘wikifying’ the process to be as inclusive as possible), with the 14 GlobalCircles charged in particular with identifying 10 (for example) nominees each year for an annual induction of 15 historical inductees at the LEx Congress event.
It will have been noted that so far all inductees have been historical (i.e. deceased figures). That is due to copyright and other issues, in addition to the fact that it is much easier and faster to execute than with living figures. But the foundation of historical figures will also lend great weight to the work we do, and as noted the example of the inductees will do much to make plain the nature of our value proposition to all stakeholders – from new members to prospective partners, sponsors, benefactors and target beneficiaries of our work.
It is obvious however, that as soon as possible we will leverage this asset by nominating living figures for induction into the Museum. By that time, to be recognized as one standing with previous inductees should have great value.
Because of the power and energy we imagine that we can create, it seems inevitable that as a charitable organization, we would wish to expand the offering as quickly as possible into physical representations travelling exhibitions and pop-ups initially, but soon looking for a physical home.
It quickly follows that with the diversity of our eco-system and the incredible range of exhibition options, a space of considerable size would be required to curate, store and dis play exhibits – to audiences ranging from primary school children to LEx members, and community and business leaders. It likewise follows that with the great many synergies and joint initiatives with LEx Academe that this space would need to accommodate classrooms, meeting rooms etc. of many configurations, as it would be the logical ‘home’ for all of LEx Learning. And given the quite incredible power of fundraising gala annual inductions that would logically be held here, this would be the obvious home for the annual LEx Congress. In the end, all logic suggests that with the museum at its center, this would be the head office campus for Leaders Expedition.
This is the five-year pathway that we illustrate in Appendix C as collectively the eco-system that will then be known as - The LEx Institute . Importantly, a google search for ‘museum of leadership’ yields no relevant results until The Patton Museum (result 14). There is NO substantive museum focused on the study of historical and living figures through a coherent, purposeful lens. We believe this represents a singular opportunity.
The nature of these activities are such that they easily will fall under the ‘purpose’ of ‘advancement of education’ as Canada Revenue Agency defines it. We believe that LEx Learning represents an exciting opportunity to leverage the positive ‘Canada’ and ‘Toronto’ brands to strategically position Toronto as the logical nexus of a global movement that aims to redefine the art and science, and certainly the practice of leadership. And the planned evolution toward a Toronto-based LEx campus by 202 5 itself helps define and promote the greater LEx narrative – the halfway point to our moonshot in 2030.
III.LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds Inc.
Our focus to date has been on Connecting , Empowering , and Mobilizing t he LEx community. However, achieving our objective to Transform global leadership cultures in 10 years will clearly require access to capital resources. Where LEx Learning will, consistent with its purpose of the advancement of education, support the LEx eco-system – principally LocalCircle Projects , GlobalCircle Missions and Special Initiatives with charitable funding (free programs, subsidies, scholarships etc.), it remains for a for-profit entity to create the funding platform to support qualifying LEx members and the for-profi t ventures support by LC Projects , GC Missions and Special Initiatives . Hence, LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds Inc.
As noted, this structure follows preliminary due diligence discussion with our lawyers, accountants and business advisors, with the details needing to be confirmed. But the intent is to create a for-profit entity based in Canada that would be configured from conception as one that could qualify for B Corp status as a social enterprise .
Its mandate would be to raise and deploy multiple social impact funds, the funds themselves residing through a subsidiary in a low tax jurisdiction such as Luxembourg. Moreover, we see this entity as the nucleus of a funding eco-system where we collaborate with partner private equity, family office and venture capital firms that support our Tenets, our moonshot and our investment criteria in addition to LEx Learning.
We believe that there are three instances where we would provide financial support to qualified recipients consistent with our Tenets. They include, but are not limited to:
Investing in member for-profit companies
e.g., agrifactory providing commercial scale indoor food production and sustainable, organic, low cost, high quality produce
Supporting Projects, Missions and Special Initiatives
e.g., a self-organized action team comprised of local, state, and federal agencies, working to revitalize a local economy devastated by off-shoring of jobs
Supporting third-party member/nonmember charitable organizations
e.g., a school for social entrepreneurs targeting emerging leaders from the inner city
There are three very powerful differentiators that we believe would distinguish LEx in the field of social impact investing:
A focus on developing and elevating individuals as next-gen leaders in their community and sector from Manhattan to rural Kenya, Arts & Culture to Sustainability & Energy Disruption. Our first consideration is in investing in the individual – it is a given that their idea/concept will be feasible and capable of delivering the target ROI.
The LocalCircle sponsored Project, GlobalCircle sponsored Mission and ad-hoc Special Initiative structure/ process and the purpose-built supporting IT/community platform (LExHUB) provides unprecedented data and exposure to qualified , managed deal flow , covering all geographies, all sectors.
LEx Academe will provide free and subsidized capacity building business training programs for social entrepreneurs that support successful management of deals – from ideation to exit.
It would likewise be our intent that our investing strategy would be highly differentiating – these are the investment criteria that we contemplate:
To provide a ROI commensurate with best practice social impact investing
To explore and pursue financing instruments that would democratize profit distribution
E.g. Named funds + equity crowd-funding
Anchored by ‘name’ investor, with small crowd funding investors able to participate, and thus spread return.
Must be an active LEx member
Weight assigned to members with higher LEx Contribution Points
LocalCircle or GlobalCircle must support application
Provides front-line identification/screening from the real-time formulation of ideas through to the application
Due diligence embedded in process/structure of LEx HUB
Must have completed certificate course offered through LEx Academe
Proposed venture must be consistent with LEx Tenets
Special emphasis on diversity/gender balance, and servant leadership (leading by example)
Overall portfolio needs to be a balance of member owned, project/mission/special initiative, local/global, sectoral and size (micro-finance and seed to Series C)
Target communities need to be the ones to first define impact-
LocalCircle/GlobalCircles are bottom-up key differentiator, in that they are the originators/vetters
Target communities need to be chief beneficiaries of social impact investing
Focus on equity financing vs. debt
Investments are oriented to taking the strategic long view – not tactical easy wins
Current Status (as of April 10, 2020)
Since going live in October 2016, LEx has launched and tested two iterations of its public-facing website www.leadersx.org, and of its community platform, the LExHUB, and attracted 600 + accomplished and diverse members from Whitehorse, Canada to Kigali, Rwanda and over 30 countries in between. Recruitment has been generally by invitation/referral.
As noted, these members are connected as a community through the LExHUB, the online platform where members engage in discussions; where the LEx Local and GlobalCircles are hosted and supported; and where opportunity, employment, and peer mentoring marketplaces are quickly developing.
We have undertaken substantive prototyping of the LEx LocalCircle model in Toronto and are now in the process of scaling up to as many as 20 localities in Canada, the US, the UK, Kenya and Rwanda. We have likewise done the same with the GlobalCircle model, with the GC Sustainability and Energy Disruption formed and several more in pre-launch development.
The last few months had seen us in the process of seeking US$10 million to scale our organization. However, with the world turned upside down, we have concluded that we need to turn our model upside down as well.
As you will have noted in the preceding, we built our enterprise on the belief that to aspire to change leadership systemically and globally in 10 years was an incredibly audacious – even revolutionary – undertaking. Now it’s a necessity, and in a much shorter period of time. We are seeking your assistance to help assure that we can address this new reality.
We had assumed that the organization had to be built from the bottom up, giving birth to a centrist movement that would then, as we proved our value proposition, attract VIP thought leaders with whom our Tenets resonated.
We believe that the reverse is now true, that a cadre of thought leaders and subject matter experts needs to be mobilized to begin the urgent consideration of what a post-COVID-19 world looks like, and has the process/structure and North Star to be able to organize and seize this moment as the first of a 10 year mission to hit the reset button on global leadership.
In short, we need 100 to 1,000 thought leaders/SME’s in the world (to put an arbitrary number to it), representing the 15 sectors our GlobalCircles in turn represent, to take our broadly centrist Tenets and design and start to work towards a new world at both the community and sectoral level – one that rejuvenates liberal democracy. From that, the community of a great many more younger people would be recruited to comprise the requisite movement.
In the end, leaders need to lead - and not to follow.
Seizing the Moment, Achieving the Vision:
If one accepts the core assumptions noted on page three of this document, then we have 10 years remaining before we MUST have the first one million LEx leaders in positions of influence , power and impact . We believe that LEx has developed and beta-tested a uniquely convincing value proposition with virtually no resources. There is no more that can be done with the resources available to us. It is time to commence the scaled funding of what must surely become the Manhattan Project scale initiative noted at the outset.
LEx would not exist were it not for the inspiring work of the aforementioned volunteers and part-timers, but we are at the stage where we need the very best talent and resources to leverage the base that we have established. And it must be that talent that coauthors and takes ownership of the many plans that are clearly requisites of the model described herein – in a remarkably short period of time.
This is not a conventional start-up, for profit or otherwise. We do not have any more time to follow the Lean Business Startup model – what we have today is our Minimum Viable Product . For the benefactor /strategic partner who agrees that we have 10 years left, we need to take this nucleus of LEx and make it the eco-system we have described and dispense with the need for start-up KPI’s.
We do not claim to be the answer for humanity’s salvation, but we are utterly confident that we are the most thoughtful and vetted model for the kind of global coalition that Thomas L. Freidman referred to at the beginning – that WILL provide actionable solutions at the community and sectoral levels. It is today impossible to imagine the 193 nation state actors coming anywhere close enough to an actionable assessment of the problem, let alone any solutions in 10 years - and certainly not for all 15 spheres-of-impact that we have identified as vital. Instead, a non-state coalition - a community - needs to be established that can tackle the immense complexity of today’s world with an appropriately responsive and scalable eco-system. That is what Leaders Expedition is.
Accordingly, this movement needs to be with sufficient funds to allow the acquisition of talent and the setting up of such initial infrastructure as is necessary to professionalize LEx and bias our efforts for success. The first benefactor needs to be one who see themselves as a catalyst – i n this case the igniter of a c ommunity of peers who are equally concerned with the global leadership deficit and seek to liberate the great diversity of leader-creator voices who are prepared to act. As soon as possible we need to:
Bring existing staff on as full-time contractors immediately.
All default candidates for eventual full-time positions
This team supports on-going tactical operations while following takes place
Complete deployment of all LExHUB modules by 4Q 2019.
Establish a physical head office.
Initially Toronto, then contingent on strategic plan to be developed
Engage subject matter experts to confirm/revise working assumptions re: structure.
Special attention to tax/regulatory issues
Outcome to know where and how LEx assets to be developed and deployed
Create management structure for LEx eco-system.
Engage global executive recruiting firm to assist in the development of an HR plan, and to then execute principle searches
Seek out the best
Diversity key opportunity & challenge
Identify and engage marketing communication firm(s), for brand, digital footprint and public relations.
Seek out the best
Develop all operating plans – including detailed revenue streams – for all three entities.
Establish LEx Learning.
Create charitable entity
Start development of programming for both Academe and Museum
Commence funding drive towards five-year plan for LEx HQ/campus
Establish LEx Leadership Accelerator Funds.
Create for-profit social enterprise
Confirm/establish fund model - raise first XX million
Commence planning for the next LEx Congress.
The key takeaway is that a world class team needs to be as quickly as possible to then plan and commence operations to secure and support not less than 350,000 members and 7,000 LEx LocalCircles by 202 5 , with the LEx Institute established as the nexus of our movement.
Failure is not an option.
Appendix A: The LEx Tenets
Our Vision: We envision leadership cultures in which personal fulfillment, enterprise success, environmental sustainability and social justice are together guarantors of prosperity for all in a world of abundance.
Our Mission: To catalyze a community of accomplished leader creators who share a sense of destiny and are uniquely positioned to transform leadership cultures everywhere. A group committed to systemic global change by the elevation of our members to positions of influence and power—be it classroom, boardroom or legislature.
LEx Charter: We believe we are each held to be responsible for, and accountable to, ourselves and each other. Thus empowered, we are obligated to conduct ourselves so as to better enable a future where in spirit and practice:
All persons are equal.
There is no basis for discrimination, prejudice, or violence against any person.
All persons have access to and enjoy the same voting rights.
All persons are free to express themselves as they wish, without threat, harm, or other negative repercussions.
All persons have the right to, and enjoyment of, personal security and property protection.
All persons have access to and enjoy the same right to privacy.
All persons have access to nutritious and affordable food, clean water and clean air.
All persons have access to such education as is necessary to realize one’s needs and desires.
All persons have access to healthcare that provides for a long and well-lived life.
All persons can pursue a livelihood that provides for a productive, accomplished, and rewarding life, lived with dignity.
Those who cannot provide for themselves can access such means as allows for a life that is productive, accomplished and rewarding, and lived with dignity.
The natural world, including species and eco-systems, is precious and worthy of protection.
LEx Membership Pledge:
As a member of Leaders Expedition, I hereby pledge to do my best to conduct my personal and professional affairs in a manner that is consistent with both the spirit and substance of the Vision, Mission, Charter and Core Values of Leaders Expedition. That is to:
Support my fellow members to help them attain the fullest measure of their personal and professional potential.
Be a high-integrity individual with self-awareness and a passion for personal growth committed to advancing my enterprise, my community and the world about me.
Be a collaborator who inspires others to have the curiosity, courage and conviction to innovate to seize the impossible.
Be an exemplar who honors diversity, has a high tolerance for ambiguity and who demonstrates grace, good humour and compassion when under pressure.
Be a substantive contributor to, and ambassador for, the LEx LocalCircles, LEx GlobalCircles and other activities of Leaders Expedition.
APPENDIX B: Why The Manhattan Project Metaphor?
The Manhattan Project is the most direct metaphor for Leaders Expedition because it was a purposeful, co-ordinated human endeavor brought about through collaboration and commitment to overcome certain civilizational loss.
It offers important lessons about facing existential global crises which are listed below.
Failure was not an option. All effort – reasonable or otherwise - had to be expended to assure success. The Allies had to beat the Nazis in developing the bomb or face the end of life as they knew it.
Conceived of in late 1941/early 1942 by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Manhattan Project was the code-name for what came to be one of the most expensive programs of WWII - ultimately costing over $25 billion (in current dollars) and employing over 130,000 people by 1945. In 1941 it was considered most feasible that the Nazis would discover the means to create an atomic bomb before the Allies, thus likely ending the war in an act of surrender. With consequences made clear by the Holocaust.
When US Major General Leslie Groves assumed command of the project in September 1942, the Allied effort was still at the highly theoretical stage – dominated by a very small group of nuclear and other scientists who had no idea how to translate theory into practice (indeed, their initial estimate was that just 400 people could successfully execute the mission) . In just over 1,000 days, Groves conceived of and executed the program that would see the bomb detonated in the New Mexico desert in July 1945, and with its deployment in August 1945 at Hiroshima and then Nagasaki Japan, ending the war. Although significant loss of life was incurred, it shrinks in the face of what might have been.
The relevant lessons-learned from the Manhattan Project:
Just start. Simply starting the effort was one of its greatest achievements. Most ‘expert’ opinion was that the project was doomed to failure. Groves started with no plan, no budget and no consensus – on anything.
Set a clear timetable. Groves understood that the passage of scarce time was a critical motivator. Setting widely adopted stretch targets (that were rarely met) contributed to momentum build and high morale.
Explore many options. Because there was no consensus as to which of several theoretical solutions might work, all were pursued with equal vigour – only abandoned when winning solutions emerged. Consequently, research, development and production occurred simultaneously. When every minute counted, they had to forgo the conventional linear development path.
Lead, but then let go. Centralized, purposeful leadership was critical, but learning, development and progress had to be organic and self-initiated. Groves was a very competent engineer but knew nothing of nuclear physics – or the many other disciplines involved, yet he and his team had to facilitate the evolution of an eco-system where all participants felt empowered to contribute as they best could.
Only the best will do. With so much riding on the outcome, every effort was made to actively recruit the best people available for key positions. It was false economy to accept less than the best.
Involve the greatest minds, of the greatest diversity. Again, because at the outset there was little if any certainty about the ‘winning’ solution, a great many diverse opinions were sought, and a culture created where that diversity was respected and honoured. Likewise, subject matter experts were actively recruited to contribute to these discussions.
Invest, and invest in, everyone. With the fate of the world at stake, it was vital that each participant feel the weight of personal accountability for their involvement in the project. Conversely it was equally important that to the extent possible, the well-being and security of each individual was made a priority.
Optimism always. Transparency when needed. It would have been understandable to let the desperate context for their endeavor to define the culture of the Manhattan Project. Instead, Groves led the massive initiative with infectious optimism, and though bound by the obvious need for compartmentalized security, never refrained from sharing his frank assessment of the situation.
Appendix C: Process
Appendix D: Structure
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