This week I attended a dinner at the Institute of Public Relations. It was the Annual Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner and the key note speaker was Richard Dobbs, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute who spoke about “Prevailing Business Drivers: Digitization, Urbanization, Easternization.” He spoke about the four forces that were going to affect management in the next half-century — urbanization, aging, technology and connectivity. In fact, he wrote about these forces in an article I read a couple of weeks ago which should be read by all to understand the future. He also has a book coming out called No Ordinary Disruption.
However, at the dinner, he touched on leadership in a way he did not in the article. He said he and others at McKinsey had identified the qualities of winning leaders of the future — agility, optimism and a focus on the external. Dobbs said that leaders needed to focus more on the external and understand how the world was changing. It was their job to bring those insights back to their companies. He also said that leaders need to tell their stories externally and be good at it. That was music to my ears because I believe the same. There is no better time to story tell than now as the channels proliferate and leaders become more comfortable with the platforms. The corporate landscape has changed immeasurably and leaders need to fiercely narrate their company’s differentiation and purpose. No one is going to hear them if they do not speak out on behalf of their companies. Too many companies appear the same. Something must be done and who is better able to get heard than the CEO. Here’s to the future!