Of course, as most of the speakers during this Perspectives’ week have mentioned, this week is not a replacement for the famous Discovery Expedition, but an exciting program that was created to broaden our horizon and inspire us.
Today, I would like to share my key learnings from the eight exceptional external speakers that took their time to share with us:
John McCall MacBain, Founder, Director and the Chair of the McCall MacBain Foundation, shared his professional and life learnings and showed us there is a difference between failing and being a loser. One of the most interesting things he helped me understand about dealing with the multiple anxieties and stresses in life, was to identify the worst case and really ask myself if this is the real case. As I have learnt this year being so close to my colleagues, the friendships that I have formed before and during this year are of key importance and need to be nurtured; they will get us through the tough times and help us find opportunities.
Janina Kugel, Non-Executive Board Member, Advisor and Speaker, former Siemens CHRO, told us about her compass to become the person she aspires to be. She encouraged us to take the time to build “the list” of our personal and professional goals, which will guide you and help indicate what you want to do even though things may be unclear, of course the list is a moving target and not static. She also highlighted the importance of soft skills, being approachable and asking for feedback to become a great leader. The best test? Will you be surprised by what people say about you in the corridor?
Tiernan Brady, Global Director of Inclusion at Clifford Chance, shared his learnings of campaigning for more inclusion and highlighted that inclusion will be core in our future careers. As I have learnt this year being in such a diverse class, inclusion is going beyond the numbers, being curious about others, sometimes agreeing to disagree but never walking away when facing differences – and I can tell you it is not always easy. He also challenged us to think about the definition of winning when creating long term change. Is it beating everybody, or do you become stronger when persuading? But the most important for me, was the reminder of our responsibility to celebrate people on the journey of becoming an advocate – show them they are part of the solution, not the problem.
Anirudha Dutta, India Macro Analyst at Capital Group and Author, made us travel to India by sharing his views on the country and its economy. He reinforced what I had understood from interacting with our Indian colleagues in the class, India is one country but feels and acts like many. How many countries in the world have 17 languages on their bank notes? I was also very inspired by the pace at which India has been changing, for example going through digitalization, and it made me curious to know much more and when possible go there to see it with my own eyes.
Paul Robson, President International at Adobe walked us through his experience from an ever-transforming organization and highlighted that through digital, customer-experience is the new battle ground, beyond competitors and across industries, you need to be able to listen to the signals sent by the customers. Beyond the challenges of the industry, what resonated the most with me, coming from the consulting industry, is when he mentioned that if you want to have a performing organization “you can’t ask your employees to give everything without giving back”. Adobe has decided to shut down every 3rd Friday as a well-being measure for their employees during covid.
Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel, shared his learnings from overcoming crisis that he sees as opportunities to make more changes and move faster. One piece of advice that resonated the most with me was about checking your moral compass when making a business decision – would my parents, my children be proud of this decision? As we are going through the job search and making our decision on our next career move, he also encouraged the class to think more about opportunity to grow than worry too much about the money.
Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech, showed us that being humble is a key element to success as it enables you to keep an eye open and learn from others and from the world around you. He encouraged the class to find their own leadership styles and embrace the person you are. Also, in the middle of what looks like a never-ending covid crisis, he challenged us to think about crisis as being magic, under one condition: that you manage to stay calm. It is in your hands, what will you do with this magic?
Paul Cobban, Chief Transformation Officer at DBS Bank, walked us through the success story of DBS’s transformation and highlighted the importance of having a strong vision of the future you want to join. Beyond the need of breaking the immense work into chunks to make it manageable, he emphasized the role to create a climate of change. Especially, I think he gave the class a great gift through his encouragement to learn to expect to be wrong and to always keep being curious. As we come close to the end of the year, I would be proud if the #Mighty90 build this reputation.
Meeting all these inspirational speakers has left me reenergized and I am looking forward to putting these learnings into action!
I want to finish by thanking the IMD program coordinators and professors who enabled us to meet these inspiring speakers on short notice, putting together what feels like “Plan Z” has shown us what true resilience is 😊