Leadership: Afterglow of the Forbes Global CEO Conference 2010
An Essay by Jason Ma prior to forming ThreeEQ, October 1, 2010
“Full Sail Ahead!” Positive feelings energized everyone at the invitation-only, prestigious Forbes Global CEO Conference 2010 held in Sydney, Australia, in September. This unique gathering focused on world business leaders’ determination to go “full sail ahead” in search of new growth opportunities in volatile times. The panels examined the ways in which CEOs are thriving on adversity and identifying opportunities. The sessions also featured in-depth discussions on social responsibility and philanthropy, human capital, and leadership. We envision major economic recovery in the years ahead and worldwide growth opportunities are abundant for entrepreneurs. As what I do includes training and developing future leaders, I would like to highlight some of what I’ve learned.
The Forbes event team writes: “When the sea is calm, anyone can hold the helm. In volatile times, world business leaders take on the role of master mariners. They know how to set a course through the aftermath of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, outwit the forces of nature, keep their ship on an even keel, and head towards safer ports that promise more growth. The journey of the master mariners is riddled with aftershocks from the crisis, but glory awaits those who surmount them with determination and help create a better future.”
Leadership starts with a strong value system. Paul Tagliabue, Chairman of the Board at Georgetown University and former Commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) in the United States, advises: “What matters are value systems, skills, supply and demand, rewards. Service to others is core. Passion is a must.” Rich Karlgaard, Publisher of Forbes magazine, quotes a very successful CEO in Silicon Valley: “I optimized for values before I optimized for business.”
“Smart people aren’t leaders. Smart and wise people are. Focus on the wisdom part,” comments Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, reflecting on his years of vacationless challenges leading a country in turmoil. Leaders show character, communicate well, demonstrate compassion, dislike overly political “yes people,” listen well, and get the best collaborative effort. A leader finds and works with the right people. Leadership today is about influence, not titles. A leader is passionate about the whys of an idea and knows how to get there.
As I am in the business of preparing students for university and career success, I ponder: “We are passionate about enhancing our students’ practical EQ and tapping into their IQ. We love it when our students meaningfully learn, contribute, grow, succeed.” Students, may this essay inspire you. Imagine yourself as one of the master mariners in business or government in the future. Work, give, learn, play, and live with passion. These actions will carry you toward your bright future!