Today’s leaders are dealing with unprecedented changes, and an unpredictable and challenging future. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, with its explosion of new technologies, is forcing companies of every size, in all industries, to reevaluate everything – from how we think about and do our jobs and create business growth to what it takes to inspire and connect with employees and customers.
It’s also changing what it means to be a leader in a world where social media, connected devices, virtual teams, artificial intelligence and more are creating a new normal for the future of work. The digital disruption of business places a premium on leaders who can create and implement a vision of change.
These 10 speakers offer new perspectives on all aspects of your business, as well as inspiring insights and actionable advice for what it will take to lead in 2020 and beyond.
Chief Executive Futurist: Envisioning How Tech Will Change Everything
In times of disorientating change, foresight is a necessary but difficult skill to hone. One of the most accomplished futurists of our time, Amy Webb offers a high-level, holistic perspective on the evolution of future technologies, empowering business leaders and everyday people to make data-driven decisions and stay ahead of the curve. Professor of strategic foresight at NYU Stern School of Business, founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI) and author of the provocative book “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity” (PublicAffairs, 2019), Webb challenges the way we think about how AI and other tech trends are reshaping society and business. Watch her speak about her 12th annual Tech Trends Report at SXSW 2019.
Overcome Challenges by Rediscovering the Power of Questioning
Hal Gregersen reminds leaders – including executives at Chanel, Patagonia, Virgin Galactic and Disney·Pixar – that it’s not your job to have all the answers. But leading in an increasingly unpredictable and digital world means asking more creative questions. The MIT leadership and innovation expert and author of “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life” (HarperBusiness, 2018) offers a three-step methodology for transforming your company from one that seeks answers to one that continuously and habitually asks questions. Watch Gregersen’s eye-opening presentation, Leadership on the Edge of Uncertainty.
Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life
Stew Friedman has been at Wharton since 1984, where he founded the business school’s Leadership Program and its Work/Life Integration Project. For decades, Friedman has been at the vanguard of helping organizations succeed by investing intelligently in employees’ whole lives. In his bestselling book “Total Leadership“ and his soon-to-be-released “Parents Who Lead,” Friedman vividly demonstrates how employees can be happier, healthier and more productive. With his evidence-based Total Leadership method – created when he was Ford’s global head of leadership development – leaders at all levels learn how to improve performance by innovating at work, at home, in the community and in the realm of mind, body and spirit. Watch his inspiring talk at NYC’s Lincoln Center, Mobilizing People Toward Goals that Matter.
Developing a Strategic Mindset
Tackle Tough Problems by Thinking “Outside the Building”
Every leader aspires to change the world. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, one of the most prominent business thinkers of our time, believes they can – and will. But according to the renowned innovation expert, solving the most complex and messy social and environmental problems will take a bold approach to innovation that breaks through silos and mobilizes partners across challenging cultural, social and political situations. “When traditional approaches are inadequate or resisted, a new paradigm for leadership is essential,” says Kanter. Pre-order Kanter’s new book, “Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time” (PublicAffairs, January 2020), and watch her discuss the evolution and application of leadership principles.
Fix the Power Struggle to Mobilize Mass Engagement
The currency of power no longer belongs to organizations; today, it’s in the hands of the people. Jeremy Heimans, co-founder and CEO of the global movement-building agency Purpose, and Henry Timms, co-founder of #GivingTuesday, are the foremost experts in what they call “new power” – the ability of companies and individuals to harness crowd energy by giving voice to the public via digital platforms. Authors of the best-selling book “New Power: How Anyone Can Persuade, Mobilize and Succeed in Our Chaotic, Connected Age” (Doubleday, 2018), Heimans and Timms reveal a new way to think about leadership, relying less on formal authority and more on inspiring unprecedented participation, engagement and creativity among employees, consumers and stakeholders. Watch their engaging talk from this year’s ASAE Conference.
Curating an Effective Corporate Culture
When Employees are Nomads, Reclaim Connection and Humanity
Nomadic professionalism is the new norm in the workplace. It is not unusual for talented employees to feel deeply attached to their work while being loosely attached to their organization. It’s a new way of being at work as much as a social trend, explains INSEAD Professor and leadership development expert Gianpiero Petriglieri. It’s changing what it means, and what it takes, to become and remain a leader. And it’s changing what it takes for organizations to attract and develop talent. Petriglieri prepares us for the future of work by focusing on building connections and reconciling commitment with flexibility. Watch his high-energy presentation about humanizing leadership.
Soft Skills are Strengths: Tapping Emotional Intelligence
Today’s organizations need leaders with the emotional intelligence to inspire and empower their people to get things done, says Manfred Kets de Vries, professor and founding director of INSEAD’s Global Leadership Center and best-selling author/editor of more than 50 books on leadership development and organizational change. And that’s not easy when your employees are virtual, spread across the world and overloaded with information. He teaches how to create high performance teams and organizations where people have courageous conversations, and are self-aware, collaborative and resilient.
Designing Trust and Collaboration Into Your Organization
How do you foster a sustainable culture of trust and collaboration in today’s complex 21st century business environment? Design it in, says INSEAD Professor Mark Mortensen, a pioneer of research on multi-teaming and expert on organizational design, social psychology and human dynamics. New technologies and approaches, with all their bells and whistles, are trivial compared to how they impact the way people work, act, relate and coordinate with others. Mortensen gives leaders simple, effective tools to recognize their hidden costs and to identify what’s important to their organization right now, rather than blindly follow industry trends.
Elevating Your Brand
Leading Diversity: How Your Brand Can Combat Unconscious Bias
Working with various groups is not merely a “diversity” issue, says inclusive leadership expert and MIT Sloan senior lecturer Renée Richardson Gosline; it is a key success factor for all organizations and the leaders who steer them. While labels and their associations allow us to make more efficient decisions in the “blink of an eye,” these cognitive shortcuts are also subject to biases, of which even the most “rational” leaders must beware. Gosline’s strategies – rooted in behavioral economics – help leaders make authentic connections, dissect and dismantle the biases that affect us all and inform the decisions we make. Watch her entertaining keynote, Applying Branding Principles for Inclusive Leadership.
Building Legacy Brands in a Noisy, Crowded Digital World
Historically, brand leaders would successfully market and sell products and services by explaining why their offerings are better than competitors. But in an era of social media, consumer activism and the triumph of “feeling,” says marketing expert Kai. D. Wright, it’s no longer enough. Author of “Follow the Feeling: Brand Building in a Noisy World” (Wiley, 2019), he shows how to make your brand not only recognizable but emotive in profoundly positive ways. Watch Wright’s standing room only presentation at SXSW 2019.
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