This fall, I connected with leaders across industries at the Concordia Annual Summit. We talked about big-picture challenges like the environment, the healthcare crisis, and the ongoing recession. I came into these conversations with a localized view. Like many leaders I was focused on what was happening to my customers, my employees and my business. I left these conversations with a deeper understanding of our global context and many new connections and perspectives. I was inspired by the conversations, which left me with a number of takeaways to share.
It’s Time to Break Our First-World Lens
We live in a world that keeps getting smaller, where learning from international perspectives matters more than ever. A narrow perspective will not serve us moving forward. We can’t really determine our individual environmental sustainability policies without understanding what the climate crisis looks like from the Amazon rainforest. We can’t really understand what it means to provide equal access to high-quality healthcare until we understand what it means to be denied healthcare. To capture the best ideas, it’s time to make space for listening to diverse voices that represent people from different backgrounds, cultures and political ideologies.
Beyond listening, we should also appreciate the innovation going on in the global marketplace. I have a newfound appreciation for the thought leadership happening across multiple continents around what’s next in climate control, telehealth, and primary education. So, the big challenge for leaders is this: How do we tap into, nurture and engage that talent? How do we build a trusted playground that attracts this talent and encourages all of us to play together to make a bigger impact?
Public Policy Is Everyone’s Business
Putting partisan politics aside, I am reminded that today’s private enterprise works at the intersection of policy, commercial, technological and societal interests. The first 10 years of my career focused on applying technology to child welfare, job unemployment, and other human services challenges. Twenty years later, I am relearning the importance of understanding public policy to our commercial goals, and our corporate responsibility beyond the balance sheet. The nature of today’s issues, whether environmental, financial or digital, requires an understanding of how public policy is shifting. It’s important to consider public policy – not only in the U.S. but abroad – in order to unlock our potential to help solve these critical issues with our customers.
For a consulting company like Point B, this translates into finding allies within government and public policy firms, forming mutually beneficial relationships, and negotiating alignment around what we are trying to achieve in the world.
Collaboration Is the Name of the Game
No single organization is big enough, talented enough or deep enough to go it alone in conquering the global challenges facing commerce and communities. We must open “our borders” to new organizations, to competitors, and to our customers to share information, ideate, deliver and learn together. For leaders, we must move from a zero-sum competitive stance to an open-source stance – leaning on empathy to learn new perspectives, instilling trust through direct dialog and actions, and lending a helping hand before it is needed.
It’s been an exciting few months since I stepped into the CEO role at Point B. I’m learning at a rapid pace – what I need to do inside Point B to unlock our full potential and what I need to do outside Point B to connect our firm to the global context and change going on around us. I came away from the summit inspired and excited for the collaborative new era we’re ushering in together.