Now that I've got your attention, I want to share an idea about Mormons. We've seen them at airports, in third world countries, and have rejected them at our doorstep countless times. But maybe there is something to be learned from these missionaries that has nothing to do with Joseph Smith or polygamy.
I read a very interesting feature article in Bloomberg's Business Week magazine. It describes the two-year missionary program that male Mormons complete after high school. In God's MBA's: Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders, writer Caroline Winter takes us inside the Provo Missionary Training Center, which dispatches 20,000 young Mormons to the farthest corners of the planet. The author suggests that this experience might be the reason there are a disproportionately high number of Mormons who have leadership positions in business and politics. With two Mormons currently running for President, I wonder if there might just be some truth to that. Romney did his mission in France (Winter recounts some juicy anecdotes about his time there) and Huntsman served in China. And if so, is it the fact that these pre-adults are going abroad that gives them an advantage, or is it the regimented, disciplined lifestyle? Or is it the fact that they have one of the toughest sales jobs on the planet?
To me, this logic makes perfect sense. Sell something really, really difficult. Then sell something a little more marketable. Suddenly, selling the more marketable thing must seem like a breeze. I mean, once you've converted someone to another religion, selling software products or apple pie or yourself as the Republican nominee must seem much easier in comparison. Perhaps we should model a national program after the Mormon missions. Instead of pushing a new set of religious beliefs, we push a new set of American products, creating jobs, reducing the deficit, and maybe just producing a new generation of leaders in the process.
|Sorry guys, I'm not interested, but perhaps you'd like to run my company one day.|