Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Leadership in a New Century

I was fortunate to attend a session at Stanford last weekend titled: Wanted: Courage, Compassion and Character—Leadership for the 21st Century. Moderated by Tom Brokaw, the panel included:
  1. Jeff Raikes, CEO, Gates Foundation
  2. Carly Fiorina, Former CEO, HP
  3. Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice
  4. Xavier Becerra, U.S. Representative
  5. Kavita Ramdas, CEO, Global Fund for Women
  6. John Hennessy, President, Stanford University
  7. David Kennedy Professor Emeritus of History, Stanford University

In two hours the panelists focused on many different topics ranging from the role of women in leadership, to new skills required for leaders, to the role of law in establishing leadership, to global differences in leadership expectations and delivery. The panelists were well-informed, and kept the conversation going by pulling in larger themes, adding details, and then drawing parallels to other topics in the conversation. There were too many comments, quotes, and thoughts expressed to fit into one blog posting. So I’m going to take the next few days to tease out some of the key messages and my reactions to them.

I’m sure at some point Stanford will make the full video of the session available for sale. In the interim, a highlight reel is posted
here. If you are tasked with leadership training or coaching, I would highly recommend looking for the video. It would be a great tool to use in a training session. I could also see assigning a pre-work task to review the video and form your own reactions to the questions or the comments. Finally, for anyone who is looking to build their public speaking skills, this would be a good video to compare/contrast styles, word choice and persona as expressed by the panelists. [/end unpaid advertisement]

Of course, I’m hoping that these posts will stimulate some conversation, so let me start with a first question: How do you define leadership in the 21st century?

1 comment:

Mark said...

Very important topic, these days! I like Seth Godin's take on Leadership in "Tribes" as it emphasizes the concept of individual responsibility and action:

"Leadership...is about creating change you believe in."

i.e. it's not just a synonym for management (e.g. control, command, etc.) but about acting on a vision for what could be and getting and helping your followers to make it happen.