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Rightfully so, the global community reacts in outrage when terrorists take the lives of innocent citizens. Millions walk in solidarity to stomp out breast cancer, while entire communities take to the streets in protest over deadly violence. But we seem to just accept the 1.3 million deaths – and 50 million injuries – related to auto accidents. In fact, car crashes claim more lives each year than war, malaria, terrorism, murder, breast cancer, suicide, or illegal drugs.

We attack these other global issues with urgency and outrage, driven to eradicate these insidious problems. Yet we seem to think of auto-related deaths and injuries as simply a part of life.

Samir Salman will have none of it. As the CEO of Continental Corporation’s NAFTA division, Salman and his team are on a mission: to put an end to auto deaths and accidents once and for all. It turns out that nearly 90% of car accidents are caused by human error. So the Continental team is working tirelessly to bring autonomous driving to the mainstream, hoping to put a massive dent in the global problem of car crashes.

I had the opportunity to go for a ride in a self-driving car prototype with Mr. Salman. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous as we raced down a crowded highway at 70 mph with no hands on the wheel, but after a while I was able to fully grasp the possibilities. In addition to saving lives, automated driving could reduce rush hour traffic by 50% or more. It can reduce fuel consumption, increase productivity, and save millions of hours per year for drivers.

According to Salman, the technology will be fully ready by 2025, but the tech isn’t the biggest hurdle. Regulatory challenges, security, and driver acceptance are all on the minds of his team as they race toward a cure. These are hard problems that require enormous tenacity, grit, and resiliency to solve.

Will Continental enjoy commercial success by pioneering fully autonomous driving? Sure. But that’s not what fires up a team for long hours and sacrifice. The money will come as a byproduct of pursuing a higher calling – to save lives and make the world a better place.

As a leader, you may wonder why your team lacks motivation. Perhaps your crew is all too quick to punch out at 5pm sharp and isn’t demonstrating the drive you’d like to see. Instead of blaming the team, try looking in the mirror. Great leaders inspire action by working toward a mission far greater than healthy gross margins. People bring their full arsenals of creativity, passion, and intensity when they’re doing work that matters. The more important the calling, the more commitment you’ll receive from your team. Innovation doesn’t happen by cracking the whip or offering a bonus – it’s harnessed through the pursuit of a worthy cause.

Zoom out from your quarterly financial targets, and re-focus on greater meaning and purpose. How can your work change the world? How can you make history?

Chase money and you’ll seldom find it. Pursue greatness, and the economic rewards will follow. Focus your team on the biggest possible impact to unlock innovation, conquer your most pressing challenges, and enjoy sustainable success.

Samir Salman is fueled to save 1.3 million lives. What fuels you?


Josh Linkner is the author of two New York Times Bestsellers — Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention — and an active member of the Outthinker community. He is also a four-time tech entrepreneur, serving as founder and CEO of each, driving a combined exit value of over $200 million. He founded and served as CEO/chairman of ePrize, the largest interactive promotion agency in the world. He is a top-rated keynote speaker and founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners, helping to rebuild his hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?