10 Next-Generation Leaders On Leadership

from Fast Company

The Fast Company Impact Council, an invitation-only group of corporate leaders, entrepreneurial founders, and other leaders from across industries, gathered on June 30 to share their insights. Members split into small groups, moderated by Fast Companyeditors, and shared their perspectives on how they are managing and innovating amid a trio of crises: the global pandemic, the economic slowdown, and calls for social justice in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

In this roundtable discussion, led by editor-in-chief Stephanie Mehta, top executives discussed the New New Rules of Leadership. Participants in this session, in alphabetical order, were Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm; Jeff Huber, CEO, Home Instead; Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA; Brad Keywell, founder and CEO, Uptake Technologies; Stephanie Linnartz, group president, consumer operations, technology, and emerging business, Marriott International; Marc Metrick, president and CEO, Saks Fifth Avenue; Dana Settle, partner and cofounder, Greycroft; Alicia Tillman, global CMO, SAP; Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO, Genpact; and Frank Young, president, vertical market software solutions, Global Payments. Excerpts of the roundtable have been edited for length and clarity.

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  1. Currently our society goes through the corporate world like a storm. We have a mind set of the shareholder holds the stakes in the business and if shares are not at a certain number per month/year then the company is not as “successful”. This mind set has been altered by this new generation of leaders thinking the opposite in which the norm is. Tiger Tyagarajan emphasizes that the shareholder is no longer in complete control but the four stakeholders. This is big when thinking about companies such as hotel chains Marriott and Hyatt because where they have brands across the world and their stocks are worth a lot, they are claiming that means nothing without the stakeholders.
    With the pandemic a lot of ideas have come about on how a consumer can avoid others at all costs due to not wanting to get sick. The main idea has been contactless delivery which has been booming and quite frankly has kept some businesses in effect. It is not a ideal way, but when a leader comes in to say that “if we do not have a solution to the problem then we will be done” the only ways to stay in tuned is by going around the central issue. I think this article does a great job of showing how leaders must adapt to situations and the best leaders take charge and are not afraid of the consequences. If you think about it, the corporate world has had to change yet again after this pandemic, and this can lead us to thinking that conditions have not only changed but empathy has increased. In an office a year ago it was a cutthroat mentality, which with switching to online, people have had to adapt to other personalities and weaknesses and allow them to grow with the workplace.
    Not everyone is technology based which Mar Metrick emphasized that they are still in the field. With people in the field it was shocking how he said that they listen to the staff. With corporations switching their old ways out and new ones in, this shows that they are up with changing with society and the needs in which the new generation has. It was important to see that the company leaders are putting employees first and allowing proper PPE so they can work effectively.
    I know after reading this article to showed to me that the workplace is growing, and companies and leaders are growing with it. I liked looking into the great minds behind the scenes and what they were wanting to accomplish, it seemed to me it was always growth.

  2. I find this article interesting. It makes me realize how the workplace environment is expanding and promoting new job opportunities. When I read the article, I found out that in order for starting a business to take place in an ethical manner, there needs to be special skills, leadership, and stocks and investments should be used ethically and wisely. Additionally, I figured out that sometimes teamwork can be crucial when starting a new business that promotes leadership when reading the article. Furthermore, I figured out that great ideas will lead to a successful business when reading this article. This makes me realize that great ideas, leadership, special skills, and ethics in addition to teamwork is very important for people to develop, especially when wanting to start a business and to make sure that it will flourish successfully.

  3. This article highlights just how much the COVID-19 virus has been an accelerator to our world. Changes that would have happened over a period of five years are now happening in five months or less. Whether positive or negative, this pandemic has created changes that are here to stay in all aspects of our daily lives. Reading this discussion between various corporate leaders was very eye-opening as they all deal with managing companies in the different industries that make up our world. Barbara Humpton made a very remarkable statement when she asked, “What if change is actually the new constant?” Personally, I have wondered this throughout the midst of this pandemic. The fact that humanity merely adapted to a life-threatening virus, rather than working to eradicate it completely, shows that we may not be as opposed to change as we claim we are. This adaptation has forced many un-adaptable businesses to close and truly emphasizes the need humans have for the businesses that have survived. An example of this being the hotel industry, as executive Stephanie Linnartz discussed in this article. She explained how quickly hotels have had to adapt to the preference of guests for a contactless experience from check-in to check-out. As a result, new technologies have been created to handle this shift that have ultimately allowed hotel businesses to remain open throughout the pandemic.

    Jeff Huber discussed another interesting point regarding businesses that solely relied on in-person transactions. He posed the question of how businesses can conduct, what should be, personal experiences on a virtual platform. The technology is there to be used, but the emphasis on being personal is not as easily transmitted through a screen. However, this should not allow for a complete abolition of in-person transactions. Humans are more likely to be drawn to businesses where they feel truly valued and are not seen as just another number. The challenge is for businesses to discover ways in which they can still value their customers but be gaining profits simultaneously in order to remain afloat.

    Overall, great changes are taking place in our world and prepared or not, we all need to face them head-on. We are living in the future of technology, infrastructure, communications, etc. Instead of dwelling on the past, we need to accept our present and continue to develop it so we no longer need to adapt to negative changes like virus pandemics. Having an inside look into the minds of the leaders developing these changes shows that the world is no longer entering a new chapter of change, but a new novel of breakthroughs.

  4. Throughout my college career so far, I have been asked several times to define leadership, to identify the qualities of a good leader, to explain how a person can lead successfully. Leadership is pervasive in almost all facets of education, work, and life in general—and that is likely why I have learned about it in several of my business core classes, my free electives, and, of course, my required leadership elective. Every time I am faced with some form of the same question, revolving around what makes a leader a good leader, my answer changes slightly but seems to remain the same at its core.

    I was asked recently during a workshop what the “number one” skill or quality is that a leader must possess, and then we were asked to discuss our answers in groups and come to a consensus on one answer. We struggled tremendously. We struggled tremendously because the truth of the matter is that there is no one quality that composes a good leader but rather a set of skills and qualities that function in congruence. A few of these qualities were discussed in the article from Fast Company. At this point, you’re likely wondering, “What are they?!” And, to that question, I respond, “Patience is a virtue.”

    Before I list the key qualities I believe a leader must hold, it is imperative to state that these are not the only qualities that comprise a good leader. It should go without saying that the concept of leadership cannot be boiled down to just three aspects. However, these are the three traits that I personally believe are requisite for a successful leader:

    – INTERPERSONAL SKILLS. This was the “one” answer that my group and I elected to present during the workshop, although it encompasses many traits within it. Leaders have to have EQ, emotional intelligence—they have to be able to understand and empathize with the people with whom they are working and the people they are leading. Aside from empathy, understanding, and compassion, interpersonal skills also include communication skills. Without communication skills, leaders would not be able to lead because they would not be interacting with their peers. Leaders must be able to effectively convey messages through verbal and nonverbal cues, and they must be able to interpret verbal and nonverbal messages from their team. After all, communication is a two-way street.

    – INITIATIVE. Without initiative, nothing would get done, especially if the one without initiative is the person who is supposed to be directing your team. Leaders are responsible for influencing, directing, and bringing together the group to work toward a goal—so how would he or she accomplish such a feat without his or her own drive to achieve the goal?

    – ADAPTABILITY. This was the trait discussed most in the article from The Fast Company, although many leaders featured in the article framed it as the speed of adaptability rather than the general ability to adapt—but I digress. Life is unpredictable; oftentimes, you will be cruising along smoothly, and then BAM! You hit an unexpected bump in the road that totally blows your tire. In this situation, some people will continue trying to move along even with this missing tire, and those people oftentimes fall behind or crash and burn. Other people—the people with the ability to adapt and overcome—will find solutions to make up for the blown tire (and sometimes these solutions function even better than the original!). For leaders, the ability to adapt quickly and help your team adapt quickly to new and unexpected situations is crucial. Life is not perfect and will not always go the way you want it to go, so you have to be prepared for the unexpected and be able to change course at a moment’s notice.

  5. Having good leadership is something that is very important in our country. On June 30th, the Fast Company Impact Council, an invitation-only group of corporate leaders, entrepreneurial founders, and other leaders from across industries meet to discuss leadership. The topics they focused their discussion on were the pandemic, the economic slowdown, and the calls for social justice. Tiger Tyagarajan believes that “speed” is very important. His reasoning behind this is because the shareholder is not the only stakeholder. There is also the customer, the employee, and the community. I agree that the community is a very important aspect of any business. Without the community support, a business cannot be successful. Stephanie Linnartz brings up a great point that international business is becoming difficult. She mentions how people do not want to do face to face business because of the pandemic, but she has led her company to adapt. Barbara Humpton believes her company has adapted to be more sympathetic during these tough times. I definitely agree companies need to be more sympathetic to their employees and customers. The pandemic and call for social justice have put a lot of stress on everyone in our country. Mental health is at an all time low for our country, so companies need to do their part and make sure it does not continue to drop. Alicia Tillman believes that “personal values” are very important when determining a leader. An individual can have a lot of accomplishments but how they got there and who they are is a lot more important. Someone can be super smart but a terrible person at the same time, that is not someone you want leading a company. Marc Metrick believes that taking input from your employees can contribute to being a good leader. There are too many people in leadership positions that refuse to take input on important decisions from anyone else. A good leader will get input from others and then use the info they get to make a good decision for everyone. I found this article very interesting because these people had smart and different views on leadership in these tough circumstances. I also tried to learn from these leaders because a leadership position is something I want to have at some point in my life. I think the meaning and responsibilities that come with being a leader will change as we navigate our way through these difficult times. When it is all over, it could lead to our country having better leaders.

  6. The Fast Company’s article which interviews leaders in the business world on how they are bouncing back from the pandemic is fascinating. It is interesting seeing each person’s point of view and take away they had from this pandemic and all the things they are doing to recover. Fast Company interviewed leaders, so it is interesting to see how 10 of the top leaders in the country are recovering. Alicia Tillman states that how they reached their goals is much more important, and harder to measure than what is on their resume. I agree with this for the mere fact that how you accomplish a goal is much more difficult than accomplishing the goal. It is takes hard work and dedication to make it in today’s society, and that hard work and dedication is never shown on a resume. Frank Young also touched upon a great point. Because of the pandemic we must advance our digital enablement. He believes that digital enablement has accelerated up to five years because of what we are forced to do during the pandemic. It is so hard for restaurants, hotels, and small businesses to survive right now, so their social platforms must be advanced. Since many people are hesitant to return to restaurants and stores it is important that these places find new ways to reach their customers. Many stores who did not offer online shopping are now offering it. Other restaurants who did not offer takeout are now selling more takeout items than in-store dining items. Other food related businesses are finding ways to sell their products as a project to give children entertainment. Some of these places include donut companies, coffee companies, and ice cream shops. They are starting to brand their business much different because of the pandemic. My favorite part of this article is not what some of these leaders said, but how they feed off each other. These leaders are extremely smart, with many different ideas. In the article some mention how they are going to use previous statements from other leaders. This is the biggest takeaway from this article. In many ways, people learn to compete with one another, not to help each other learn and grow. Just based off this article, I see how if some of the smartest people in the world can come together and help each other’s businesses grow, it could lead to a better economy and a better work environment. It is not always about competing, but about helping one another grow.

  7. To summarize what I got out of the roundtable meeting of current leaders in business, I could use the single word SPEED. Speed or words relating to speed were thrown around numerous times throughout each member. Essentially, COVID-19 has pushed all companies in all markets to increase their speed, to keep up with the pandemic. Tyagarajan referred to the fact that business had to speed up their long term projects to fit within 100 days due to the pandemic. Most businesses were affected negatively, but those that prospered saw a large increase in demand and with that, came speed. Companies who produce PPE had to work more efficiently than ever to meet their demand. Businesses who took a hit had to adapt their plans and way of doing business to cater to COVID. The hotel industry and anyone that involved person to person interaction has to change to include contactless services. To implement contactless service, technology has to be improved in the business, and the demand for these things is immediate since customers want contactless services immediately, so companies are forces to work fast to pump these things out. Companies are used to and usually prepared for change, but the pandemic has brought a new level to the word change. Change may be changed so that consistency is now change. That sentence was very hard to read, so I what I am trying to say is that change can be the new constant. Constant change can be depended upon, and businesses have to adapt. Nobody can survive if things like the COVID-19 pandemic happen over and over, so businesses have to work to prevent it. While many people have differing opinions on the pandemic and the severity of it, all business will have a customer who is very protective and could be considered “over the top,” so business have to adapt for that customer. Businesses have to be COVID-friendly because the truth is they will lose their customer base and go out of business if not. No body can predict the future, and that is what makes business and the world itself so unpredictable. The thing is businesses will always make it out because that is how the world works. The business world in 10 years is going to look completely different than now, and there is no way of predicting it.

  8. Being faced with the pandemic, business decline, and social justice movements, businesses today have a lot to handle. In the Fast Company Impact Council meeting various industry and business leaders came together to talk about how to best lead a business to success. While each leader had something different to say, there were a few things that were identified to be important by multiple leaders. Speed, human decency, and maintaining strong connections are those key factors.

    We have seen speed in business become a growing point of success for many years now. As technology has become more prominent in society, businesses have been racing to come up with the newest technology, or the best business practices to make their company successful. Speed also relates to the actual act of business as well, as consumer demand seems to have shifted to a faster receiving process of the goods or services. With so much going on in our world today, it is crucial for businesses to quickly assess and understand the situation at hand, and how they can best manage that to make their company successful. Tiger Tyagarajan explained that businesses must no longer consider just the stockholders as stakeholders in the company, but also the customers, employees, and communities. To make fast and efficient decisions that benefit all stakeholders, an organization must also be able to quickly identify the potential effects of their decisions on each stakeholder, again, asking for greater speed in the business. Easy adaptability is another factor in business speed, as companies are always faced with change, whether it be big or small, and must be prepared to embrace it.

    The second key part of leadership today is being more empathetic. Listening and understanding what other people are going through, whether that be a difficult or stressful work environment due to the pandemic, or the oppression one has faced due to social injustices is very important in making business decisions. Companies have already been shifting towards having more diversity in their organizations, and that will continue to be a trend in business to create fair and equal opportunities for all. Amidst the pandemic, companies have also sought out better ways to take care of their employees, some offering more paid-time-off for parents who can no longer get childcare, or offering better technological services so that the employee can have a better, more productive work day at home. Businesses with high employee retention and who treat their employees well tend to be more successful due to higher productivity and better morale overall.

    The third key to leadership today is to be able to maintain those strong connections within the business. Brad Keywell highlighted the importance of asynchronous clarity, and because we can no longer see one another face-to-face, people in organizations must ensure that they are clearly conveying whatever message they are trying to send to fellow employees so that the work can get done. Keywell also notes that it is important to be “visually phenomenal” when on video work calls to boost enthusiasm within teams or the organization as a whole. It’s very easy to get lost in the work and behind the computer screen when working with others, and it becomes draining on the team as a whole. So everyone must bring the energy and excitement to their work that they would in person in order to maintain productivity and create a better work environment overall

  9. It was very fascinating to read this article and take in numerous qualified, experienced, and professional perspectives on leadership as an essential quality and why it will be especially important in our recovery process from the pandemic. Before I even glanced at the article, I held great value for leadership in almost all aspects of life. While I strive to be a leader of my own in certain scenarios, it’s the leaders that have helped me in the past in various groups or teams that showed me the influence and impact of a successful leader. This discussion expanded my knowledge of how different people define a successful leader with each member emphasizing the skills and qualities that they have found important. I was especially struck by the ways in which the participants attempted to get past the obstacles of working and leading remotely, as being an influence to others over Zoom is not an easy thing to do. Brad Keywell noted demonstrating commitment, compassion, and enthusiasm through these virtual calls and taking them seriously has helped encouraged others to do the same. As the world continues to change rapidly around us due to technology, a global pandemic, and other enhancements and setbacks, everyone and especially those of us in a leadership role also need to adapt to these changes. I think everyone on the panel can agree that an open and alert mind will help ease in to these big adaptations.

  10. One of the most recurring topics in this article was speed. Covid-19 has caused many businesses to completely alter and revamp their business models. Contactless services are a major advancement many companies have been forced into very rapidly. The businesses that offer contactless and mobile services had to figure out how to maneuver this new medium very quickly to minimize losses. There is a rapid progression occurring of the integration of technology into business models. I can walk into a Marriott and go right to my room that I payed and signed for on my phone, without ever seeing or speaking to a single person. I can order food, go to school, go to an interview; all from home. The new normal is changing, as Barbara Humpton said, “What if change is actually the new constant.” This notion points to a reality that the status quo might be going out of style. The static models for services and businesses have been forced into a period of rapid change, with no warning or preparation. I think what Ms. Humpton is implying is, perhaps society will come to a unanimous conclusion that the way in which things are done is not always going to be the way in which things are done. We have seen from this pandemic that contactless services are becoming a normal option now. Businesses and such need to be expectant of change, have other options, be more open and expressive of their intentions. A well-oiled machine will not run forever, there needs to be backup plans for when the machine blows up in your face eventually. Covid-19 blew up in our faces, and everyone quickly realized we cannot continue with the status quo for the risk of catching or spreading the virus. Rapid change was needed, and while a backup plan, or a model that accounts for such rapid change, would have helped reduce the damage this virus has done; nobody had any sort of backup plan or knew where to begin in altering their operations and model. I think this is a very important lesson to learn from this pandemic, and hopefully after a vaccine is dispersed and the virus slows down, business and services will adopt more fluid operation models.

  11. The main theme of this article was really to talk about the role speed plays in our society. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses have been in a race to come up with the best short and long term solutions for their models. Tiger Tyagarajan cited coronavirus as a reason for business models having to change faster. “Over the next three to four years, I’m sure we would have all changed [to a stakeholder model]. COVID-19 has collapsed that to a hundred days.” From three to four years to just one hundred days these companies had to switch gears. Any hesitation and they likely would have been left out of options as a result of coronavirus. Companies being forced into these contactless models was an inevitable ending point, but the state of our society currently had to force them to do so much sooner than anticipated. Businesses today are constantly looking for ways to get a leg up on the competition, and this pandemic has forced the next step for these companies to come much more quickly. If any company was unprepared to move forward, they would be left behind. The need for constant advancement has become ever prevalent in society today. Similarly to what Tiger said, Stephanie Linnartz said, “We’ve had to move quickly to push forward things like our mobile guest services…It’s really forced us to move at record speed, to roll out these mobile capabilities across our hotels.” Again, being cited as a reason for this surge in innovation is this pandemic that we are currently living in. The speed that companies are currently being forced to progress at is something that I have never seen in my lifetime. Companies that relied on only in-person interactions were either forced to change their business models or to shut down due to a lack of customers. Businesses must continue to move forward at an accelerated rate. If they fail to do so, they will be left behind just like many businesses already have been in these past few months. Business advancement is always accelerating forward, so companies must adjust or they will cease to exist.

  12. A pandemic has caused distress and fear to scatter amongst numerous citizens. The fear that COVID placed in citizens caused a backlash onto the work a company could do. With people more scared to come in person or even leave the house quick thinking was needed for these larger companies to make the consumers feel safe in a time like this. The leaders at these companies have begun to embrace the need for speed, obey decency, and connect to their customers as best as possible. The innovation the pandemic has caused has shown who the true leaders are at companies and who the best are. Certain companies have been able to roll with the effects of COVID and begin protocols that can even be carried over to the normal world without COVID. The new leaders in the next generation of workers/my generation will have to find new ways to lead. We can no longer lead by past methods used in this country and are going to need to be more innovative and personable to all people. Are we ready for a new age of leaders? I believe we are and my generation is eager to take the lead and resolve issues all over. We will be ready for whatever, whenever, and as the article says, we will be fast in our responses. Good leadership is key to being successful in all elements of life. When we are without a good leader people become outraged and no control is found. I believe all the things the article listed to being a good leader are true but you also need to be able to have a strong side and hold your word unless it is blatantly incorrect. Becoming a good leader is one of my biggest goals in life, where I am viewed by others as a good leader, not a self proclaimed good leader.

  13. Prior to reading this article I was unaware there was a group of leaders in the corporate world with the level of impact the Fast Company Impact Council has. Getting to read what a few of the members took away from each other’s insight, perspective, and course of action pertaining to the recent tragedies.

    Though all participants brought up really good points there were a few that stood out to me personally. Barbra Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA, stated the most notable thing she experienced was the “incredible need for empathy”. Taking into consideration just the effects of the pandemic and social injustices seen around the country, it is no secret society is teetering. Humpton talked about the EQ within her organization, this being the empathetic, emotional quotient that keeps them connected to people. A company that has the intelligence to connect to those it serves is held in a higher regard than one that doesn’t. Right now, companies who have been found guilty of not standing up for social justice have felt the effects. People have been using social media platforms like Twitter to essentially “expose” either individuals within companies or companies themselves and “cancel them”. Though to many in the older generation, this internet threat might not have seemed as severe at first, however it’s becoming apparent just how powerful these platforms have become.

    Another point I found very interesting was from Alicia Tillman. She essentially pointed out that a resume can tell you a persons accomplishments but not the path they took to accomplish them. I would argue an interviewer only gets to see the side of the person they are interviewing that they present at the time. This in tandem with an impressive resume is all it takes most of the time. Though most companies perform a background check, they rarely deep dive all aspects of a candidates accomplishments. If the individual secured a massive project or position in an unethical fashion, and did it quietly, it’s unlikely they would be found out. If an individual hustled, and poured their heart and soul into their work and as a result secured their dream position, most employers wouldn’t know the difference. That is the problem with the world and one Im glad this group is looking at.

    All in all I think the points these individuals made and the content of their conversations are extremely impressive, especially because they were meeting over zoom. Knowing there is a committee of individuals with a corporate platform, dedicated to addressing the current issues in the country is encouraging. Hopefully more individuals will show they have what it takes and be asked to join, as I think the more members the Fast Company Impact Council has the broader their impact will be.

  14. The word that comes to mind after reading this article is empathy. Due to the Pandemic, many professionals are realizing the need for empathy. Many individuals have different feelings about the virus and they are experiencing it in many different ways. Barbara Humpton discussed DQ or the disruption quotient. This was an interesting take on what is going on. Everything in our society has been disrupted. Many individuals have lost their jobs. The everyday doings of our lives have been turned upside down. Because of this, we all need to have empathy for one another. She also talked about the need for organizations to change as needed. This is especially important because many individuals were forced to work from home. Everyone needed to learn a new way of doing things. This caused a great deal of stress for everyone, but many have overcome.

    It was equally interesting to read Frank Young’s take on how things have changed digitally. All forms of business have had to change the way they do business. This includes touchless payments to touchless deliveries. Corporations have implemented new protocols for keeping everyone involved safe. This goes on to Jeff Huber’s point of our country moving at a very fast speed. He mentioned how we have advanced our digital capabilities by at least five years. While there are many negatives to Pandemic, this panel has demonstrated how we are becoming more empathetic and finding new and improved ways of accomplishing great things.

  15. I think this article does a great job of showing how leaders must adapt to situations and the best leaders take charge and are not afraid of the consequences. Pre-COVID time, the corporate world was changing as we know due to the constant market fluctuation, AI technology, influx of immigration, baby boomers retiring, millennials entering the workforce, creating a very hostile working environment at times, scrambling for fast solutions, and reacting rapidly to all situations. However, in the last few months this pandemic has accelerated the pace of changing even more so leading us to think that internal working conditions have changed hoping for the better as I have experienced at times more empathy from my co-workers. Although, I think the cutthroat mentality will continue in the workplace.

    One thing is certain there is a positive aspect in all of this pandemic. The workplace is growing, and companies and leaders are growing with it as explained by the CEOs in this article.
    Tiger Tyagarajan’s comment makes a lot of sense as speed has probably never been more important and the shareholder is no longer the only important stakeholder, but equally important are the customers, the employees, and the community. The companies have to serve to all the stakeholders now because not satisfying one of them would be detrimental to the business. It would be interesting to see how the workforce will transform in the next five years.

    In addition, very interesting is also Barbara Humpton’s comment on the “DQ” described as the “disruption quotient. She says: “What if change is actually the new constant?”. Change has been there forever. Change is constant. It is nothing new. The world is constantly changing and evolving every day. What is new is that organizations have to empower their workforce if they want to keep up with the rapidly changing conditions. They have to recognize the talent of their employees and empower and support them when they bring forth new ideas. For many leaders, creating nimble organizations comes down to people: “Change is not the ‘what’ but the ‘who,” says Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts. “Who are the people who can change, who have that ability to let go of something they’ve been doing a long time?” Think about the “Change Agent” as corporations have created in the past years and what these agents have been able to accomplish.

    The workplace should be a more democratic environment so flatter organizations can work faster creating fairer and more inclusive workplaces and corporate cultures. Leaders should voluntarily share data about pay and diversity metrics, encourage employees to speak up when they see wrongdoing, and find ways to extend benefits and opportunities to all employees. This is what they preach, unfortunately not so practiced in reality.

    Lastly, Cristiano Amon brings out a very challenging reality that educators and businesses have to resolve “The connection between physical and digital spaces”. As we are experiencing there are half of the people attending a teleconference and half of the people in a conference room, and there is half of students from a classroom on zoom and the other half in the classroom. The personal experience is no longer there. Colleagues are no longer having face to face conversations and students are no longer experiencing the social activities with their classmates and educators. How we think about integration of digital and physical spaces will be an interesting challenge that will be with us for long time and perhaps as change this too will be part of the fabric of our life.

  16. Tiger Tyagarajan brings up a good point about stakeholders vs. shareholders. Gary Vaynerchuck, in his 2011 book The Thank You Economy, talks about the necessity of thinking people first in business and providing value and support to everyone. The best companies have always had this mentality, but we are leaving an age where the shareholder had too much power, and this adjustment is well needed. Stephanie Linnartz mentioned how you can now check into a hotel without seeing another human. I wonder what the social ramifications of that will be as even travel won’t guarantee social interaction. Alicia Tillman brought up how companies are taking a more holistic look when hiring, and people are more than their resume. It is an interesting grey zone that makes way potentially for some discrimination or biases and privacy concerns as employers take a deeper look into what makes them tick.
    I would agree with Dana Settle on the importance of EQ in a company, but I deeply disagree with “diversity on teams as a performance metric.” That would create a situation where a team hires less capable people because of their skin color at the expense of the customer and the consumer. It is also not genuine diversity. If there is a problem with racism on a team that isn’t going to be solved by quotas. I also don’t like how forced diversity treats people like numbers for the company’s diversity pie chart. Diversity is important because it exposes people to different ways of thinking. However, if it isn’t natural, it won’t have that effect and can divide people into groups instead of bringing them together.
    This is a corporate affirmative action, a practice that has been repeatedly proven incapable of providing results and detrimental to the individual accepted in the name of diversity. The problem is even greater amongst peak performers. We are lucky enough to have any genius mathematicians and we don’t need to artificially challenge the process for finding them because we are looking for a particular combination of races. Let the standard be a mathematical capability for mathematical genius, not the color of their skin. It can be easy to say that if someone is against equal representation, they think that one race or gender is lesser than the other. That completely misses the point. Race does not affect capability and should not be taken into account in the hiring process. But there is also more to life than race. A combination of other factors likely affects the outcomes of any group unrelated to their skin color. In gender, the most egalitarian, equal nations in Scandinavia have the least diversity of outcome despite opportunity equality. That’s because different genders, for better or worse, are biologically predisposed to like or dislike certain things. So boiling everything down to a metric of diversity hurts the company, the team, the individual, the race, the consumer, and society as a whole, and I disagree with Dana Settle.

  17. I find this article fascinating because it gives the readers insight into how we can expect businesses to move forward during and after the pandemic. I think Ms. Linnartz brings up a good point about how in the future, businesses are going to make the switch to mostly electronic interactions, meaning a “contact-less experience.” While I think it would provide a safer environment for everyone involved, it is also important to acknowledge the jobs lost because of the new influx of technology in society. She uses the service and travel industry as an example – if hotels become contactless there would be no jobs available for people in the business and students looking for work straight out of college.

    I personally connect with Ms. Humpton’s claims though about empathy. When COVID first began a lot of people were not taking it seriously and that switch flipped once they knew someone who got it or passed away from it. In this case, empathy only occurs if we were personally affected by COVID. I think what needs to change is our outlook on humanitarian crises. COVID showed us that we cannot simply just case about ourselves we need to be empathetic with each other. I think this also applies to the calls for social justice we saw because of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery because police brutality and white supremacy are not just issues for African Americans. These problems are never going to go away if we see this as an African American fight for justice. Everyone is responsible for being empathetic and active for social justice in this country so desperately needs.

    I also like what Mr. Amon had to say about productivity-increasing during COVID. I think it is great that companies are becoming more efficient by listening to their workers and eliminating distracting agents. However, this can also severely negatively impact workers. I see it first-hand with my mother because she is working at least an extra five hours a day because she never gets breaks anymore and instead of having regular hours, she is always being forced to sit at the computer. It is like there is no distinction between work time and off time anymore during the week.

  18. Sufficient leadership is essential in any group with like-minded goals. No one trait or characteristic can clearly define a good leader. Rather, being a good leader is dependent on many characteristics that all need to be used in accordance with one another to achieve the most ideal end result. For example, an exemplary leader has to listen to people around them, regardless of age or position; anyone can teach you something new. Then, when an idea is conceived, the leader must be able to clearly and concisely articulate their idea to their listeners. A leader must have definitive principles and must be comfortable expressing themselves to their fullest extent. Someone who is easily persuaded to do something they disagree with will not make a good leader.

    The idea expressed by Barbara Humpton was particularly interesting to read. I agree that the three major qualities, IQ, EQ, and DQ, are good indicators of whether or not someone has the potential to be a good leader. IQ, which Barbara describes as being technically capable, is extremely important. The environment today is technologically based, therefore, the ideal candidate for a leader would be someone who can easily work with the tools in their surroundings. EQ, the measure of empathy and emotional intelligence, is now more important in determining a proper leader. I think that the inclusion of empathy in business is overall a very positive change from the past. Being able to understand the perspectives of others is an important ability in regards to decision-making capabilities; further understanding of the perspectives of others will enable the decision-maker to make better decisions for the group as a whole rather than only being able to make a decision that benefits only some and not others due to a lack of empathy and understanding. DQ, the disruption quotient, could have been explained better by Barbara. However, from what I can gather, the quotient is an indicator of how well someone can adapt to unexpected change. Barbara asks, “what if change is actually the new constant?” Change is the only constant; it has always been the only thing that is constant. Adapting to change is extremely important when determining the longevity of companies, leaders, and people in general.

    This article was really interesting to read, as it showcased a meeting between business leaders today trying to prepare for the future. The future is always uncertain, so it is also interesting to see changes that companies are implementing to adapt to their environment. Though the future is riddled with uncertainty, it is at least safe to say that business will be conducted much differently in the future than how it was conducted prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  19. This article really caught my eye when reading it because it began to describe what the workplace is going through right now and how they are expanding. This article showed me that although the pandemic had very negative effects on most of the world and the economy has a whole, there have been some positives. Due to the pandemic, the changes that the workplace would have possibly never looked into are changes that are now taking place almost instantly with no hesitation because of COVID providing businesses with no choice. The workplace has started to promote new job opportunities throughout businesses. One comment that I really like that was mentioned in the article is, “What if change is the new constant?” Well, the changes that we have undergone thus far will remain the new constant until we find a new adaptation. Personally, the world did not look to beat COVID, instead we looked to adjust to COVID and find new adaptations that we can use in order to remain safe during the pandemic. Instead of working to fight off the virus and find ways to get rid of it we learned to adjust to it, which is why all the changes that the world have made will continue to be the new constant for a while.
    As the article mentions, leadership is a very important quality when it comes to almost everything in life. This article mentions many ways for a business to remain successful, such as adapting to new situations and a new environment in a relatively quick amount of time. One thing that I really like that this article mentions is when Alicia Tillman said, “You can look at a résumé and it can tell you what that person has accomplished, but how they went about accomplishing their goals is often something that’s more difficult to measure.” I really agree with this statement because it is not about what you accomplish, it is about the leadership and the strategies that you took in order to accomplish what you did.
    This article helped to describe the way that the workplace and leaders of the workplace are expanding and changing with the pandemic. I am very glad to see that the leaders are growing and shifting their ideas to the more important aspect of people rather than what is written on a resume. Some very good changes for the country have come from this pandemic, and I am glad that the world around us is learning to face them with great strength and formulate changes that will effect future generations.

  20. “10 Next-Generation Leaders on Leadership” is an article featured in Fast Company’s “New New Rules of Business.” This title could not be more fitting to the world of commerce today, even if it tried. Within this article Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA, ventures to wonder “What if change is actually the new constant?” Humpton’s questioning is extremely relevant in a time of social, commercial, and political unknowns. Businesses have faced massive upheaval in the last year, with many unprepared for the pandemic and its economic repercussions. With Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) on the rise, all businesses are working to map this uncharted territory while keeping the best interests of the community at large in mind.

    While many of these established leaders had wise words about handling the future, the advice of Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact, stuck with me. Tyagarajan offered insight into who companies should really be serving while managing rapid change, saying “…no longer is the shareholder the only stakeholder, there are actually four stakeholders. There’s the customer, there’s the employee, there’s the community. And then there’s the shareholder.” This way of thinking highlights the motives behind the strategic wholistic goals which businesses are working to achieve. Tyagarajan explains that though these ideals were already on the rise, COVID-19 has expedited this relatively new way of thinking in the business world. This business model is known as the Stakeholder Theory. According to stakeholdertheory.org, this idea “stresses the interconnected relationships between a business and its customers, suppliers, employees, investors, communities and others who have a stake in the organization. The theory argues that a firm should create value for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.” Through the many ups and downs of the current pandemic, businesses have seen just how important Stakeholder Theory can be. Everyone is leaning on something to get through this difficult time and good leadership in the workplace can help to make all the difference. Though many negatives have come from the unsteadiness of the business world this past year, perhaps this expedited shift in corporate thinking will be a positive.

    The shifting of business models, changing of goals, and calls to prepare for constant change can be accredited to one thing: empathy. COVID-19 has brought so much hardship and strife on employees, employers, and the surrounding communities. The ideas of ESG, Stakeholder Theory, and quickly managing rapid change all reflect our most basic human desires to help our neighbor, ensure a brighter future, and realize that we will all get through this crazy time together. That’s the true power of a leader: remaining compassionate and adapting to change in order to best help the stakeholders, customers, employees, and shareholders see the light at the end of a dark tunnel.


  21. I always find interest in people’s different perspectives of leadership, and their thoughts on how things should be done in the management world. There was a meeting of impactful corporate leaders and entrepreneurs that were brought together by the Fast Company Impact Council. The different leaders that came together for this talk all had great different input on how to lead. The following topics were discussed in the article: speed, internationalization, empathy, being clear on your ideas, follow-throughs, knowing what your audience wants, making compromises, and adaptability. All of these qualities that were discussed are great ways of thinking for the future. With these attributes to your leadership style, you will be able to engage with your audience and have a strong team. The biggest takeaways from this article were the ideas of adaptability. You have to be able to change the way you do things when something goes wrong. Barbara Humpton stated “What if change is actually the new constant? What if, what we’re trying to create is not some new stasis but to create organizations that are capable of rapidly changing as conditions require.” This quote from the article really stuck with me and made me think about how we will have to be able to be adaptable in times such as these. I think that it is important to not be stuck on one way of things and think that this is the only way to do something. If you get stuck in your leadership ways then eventually, you will not know that there is another way around it or that there is a different answer you could pursue.

  22. This article motivated to be a better person. Majority of these leaders recommend working on the interpersonal relationships of the work place. During these times of COVID we can get into the work mode of the day and we often forget to connect with colleagues and before we know it days have gone by without communicating with them. The article motivated me to work on my network however, I am taking it one step further by just working on relationships in my life in general that way I can have practice with conflict management, communication, and other aspects of working with others outside of work, that way you can implement what you learned during work. This article also motivated me to become more flexible and understanding of others. By working on these skills I will be able to adjust quickly and plan ahead for possible scenarios. For example, since COVID has a lot of people working and taking classes online the transition has been hard for me but since I am aware of the importance of flexibility and empathy I can come up with a plan to become more efficient in these areas since they will be benefit me more in the future.

  23. This article has made an understanding of how the pandemic created different impacts on people. Some feel there life became easier when talking to there peers over technology. Others stated that the world learned to adapt to different situations, in person and online. This article talked about how an exemplary leader has to listen to people around them, regardless of age or position; anyone can teach you something new. COVID-19 taught others to understand the importance of your emotional well being and in jobs, school, all in all life, emotional health is being understood more. The measure of empathy and emotional intelligence, is now more important in determining a proper leader. knowing what the people you work with and there wants, making compromises, and adaptability. These qualities that were discussed are great ways of thinking for the future so that the future can be more healthy and educated/protected.

  24. Blog comments for 11/13/20
    The time that this article was written it was a very fragile time in America, we were facing a global pandemic, the economy was slowed down, and there was a call for major social justice reform in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I think that is very important that this company had this sit-down with all these leaders to discuss how they should move forward and how to manage and innovate. From the lots of people that were there, it seems like they mostly have CEOs and other positions of that nature and I feel like that is important because they are the main decision-makers of a company. I am sure every company was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this article talks about the types of qualities that need to be possessed in this new normal of a world to adjust. One of the first skills discussed is speed, I think that we have been taught to speed it up during this pandemic and how fast your business or you can adjust and adapt. Also, you could see that the owner of Marriot acknowledges the struggles within the industry, but also provide a solution on how they can accommodate their customers. I think that is very important to gain repeat customers. One of the most important ones so far came from Barbara Humpton, empathy is something that all people should possess, but especially during this time. You never know what people are going through and how what they are going through might affect them. Having empathy is also related to understanding people which is very important in this society. Also, my one is to accept people no matter how they look, identify, and believe in; America is too divided and needs a change. Personal values should be important in the workplace, but not to the extent that they affect the relationships at work. The biggest thing that I think this pandemic has brought us is an expedited dive into incorporating technology into almost everything that we do. When the pandemic had started, I remember saying to myself how I felt bad for the companies that were just beginning or on the brink because this pandemic caused scenarios for companies that they had never tried before. And businesses need to buy more products (hand sanitizer, masks, sometimes plexiglass structures. On the flip side of that, this pandemic has done things for some companies that they never even thought would happen like Zoom or Microsoft Teams; Of course, they expected to have users but that number has increased majorly. Ultimately, the most important things in a leader to me is empathy/understanding/acceptance, the ability to adapt, and lastly someone who will work hard.

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