Daniel Quinn Mills is the Albert J. Weatherhead, Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus. His tenure at Harvard lasted from 1976 to 2007. He consults with major corporations and governments and lectures about management, leadership, strategy, economics and geopolitics. He is an expert on the differences between Asian and Western leadership styles. An American, Mills is also a member of the Innovation Council of Malaysia, a ministry level council chaired by the Prime Minister.
Mills has been interested in early stage businesses and as a director and investor has helped develop several firms. He has been a director of a publicly listed company, chairing its audit committee for several years. A thought leader, Mills has written books on leadership, geo-politics, investments, capital markets, business strategy, network organizations, demographics, marketing, empowerment, and union relations. His most recent book is Master of Illusions: Presidential Leadership, Strategic Independence and America’s Public Culture, published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. The book explores America’s role in the world in the aftermath of the second Iraqi War.
Widely and often quoted as well as seen in the national media, Mills has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, and been quoted in articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Business Week. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.
Question: What are the world's biggest challenges in the coming decade?
D. Quinn Mills: The biggest challenge the world faces now, is to adapt to the changes that are taking place. The Chinese want a major role in the world that has all kinds of implications for geopolitics, for the environment, for all kinds of things. The Indians want a bigger role. The Russians are going to try to put together their empire again. The economic structure of the world is changing dramatically. Some countries rising, others falling, all of this we have to adapt to in some way and we seem to me in the United States to have taken the view that our role in the world is to see that nothing much changes, that the political boundaries and the relations among nations stay pretty much the way they are, so I think we're having an enormous problem and the world’s biggest problem is how to adapted to the changes that are so strongly underway.
Question: What does the U.S. face?
D. Quinn Mills: Biggest challenge confronting United States is to figure out what are the proper role in the world is. If we are the world’s major superpower, what does that mean we should be doing? It seems to me to be obvious that we should not be engaging in small-scale wars in the Europe, Asian, African continent mass. We can't win those; we have never won them, our people keep forgetting that. At best we draw them and that is at best we get a stalemate. They are very expensive to us. We can't be successful, and our politicians are having an enormous amount of difficulty figuring out what our proper role should be.
Recorded on: 9/27/07