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Davos 2020: Model And Measure Leadership To Build Trust

February 13, 2020 Juan Carlos Cubeiro

The Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from January 21 to 24 has been quite different to the one held in 2019. It has been much more inspiring and also a call to action. Search for Responsible Leadership for a Multidimensional Capitalism (which serves not only shareholders, but also customers, employees and society as a whole), a Davos Double Decalogue has emerged. We can summarise the intense activity of more than 450 speakers and debates conducted by thousands of political, business and social leaders in this double decalogue:

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Davos Double Decalogue:

  1. Climate change: the young Greta Thunberg (2019 Person of the Year according to TIME) warned us again about the dangers of global warming: "The house is still on fire. Your inaction is feeding the flames.". For his part, Donald Trump, with the proclamation of his achievements in his first two years as president (3.4% unemployment), represented the complacency of protectionism: "To embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of the Apocalypse.”
  2. War against nature (in which humanity will lose). Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General: "Earth will survive climate change. It is the people who will not survive." Against the denial of climate change were The Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, Pakistan Prime Minister Imra Khan, Prince Charles of England and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, president of Indigenous Women of Chad.
  3. Initiatives for the environment such as planting a billion trees or UpLink, an open platform of the FEM to group ‘socially conscious entrepreneurs’.
  4. Learnability: Up-skilling and Re-skilling. Saadia Zahadi, DG of the World Economic Forum: "The more technological development, the more important curiosity, creativity and collaboration will be." Hybridisation of Digitalisation and Humanity. The agenda of the Re-skilling Revolution is to improve the capacities of 1,000 million people in the next 10 years, through education and employment. Ivanka Trump, advisor to the White House and daughter of the US president, spoke of re-skilling and the "freedom agenda.”
  5. Digital dictators: The Israeli historian Yuval Harari: "The power to hack humans can be used for good purposes, such as health and well-being. But in the hands of ‘the Stalin’ of the 21st century, the result will be the most totalitarian regime in the history of humanity. And we already have several candidates for the position of the Stalin of our century." Google CEO Sundar Pichai warned of the risk of not using data for good.
  6. Talent mismatch: The shortage of talent worldwide has been above 50%. In Spain, it has almost doubled from 24% two years ago and it has reached 41%. The ManpowerGroup report: “Closing the capacity gap, what employees want” presented in Davos speaks of the hierarchy of needs itself (not the Maslow's one) and the five keys: How compensation is delivered, Talent Customisation (the strategy of people like science and art), the Wealth of Diversity (Education, Exhibition and Experience) in a Culture of Learning, the Value of Flexibility and Well-being combined, the Economy of Purpose with healthy pride of belonging. PwC and its CEO Bob Moritz presented his annual study of CEOs on the re-skilling of 1,000 million workers. In a world with 7,700 M people, in which 3,300 M are unemployed, it is a critical challenge.
  7. Young people against violence. Naomi Wadler, the youngest speaker in Davos 2020 (13 years old) was 5 when the Sandy Hook massacre took place, and 11 years old when 17 young people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. ‘I was already numb’. In conversation with the musician and co-producer of the documentary 'Parkland Rising', will.i.am talked about his conversations with the survivors of that tragedy so that it would not become mundane.
  8. Capitalism, as we know it, has died. These are the words of Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. From maximising profit for shareholders to multidimensional Capitalism, of all stakeholder groups (Stakeholder Capitalism). "I think it will be the Decade of Trust," Ginni Rometty, president and CEO of IBM. "We need a paradigm shift about capability development rather than obtaining more degrees.”
  9. Shortage of dialogue. "People talk less to each other than what they did during the cold war," Angela Merkel, who spent 15 years as Chancellor of Germany. "The fact that people don't want to talk, prevents the possibility of building bridges between different points of view, deserves to be of concern." "That we are each in a digital bubble, only with like-minded people, leads us straight to a catastrophe." Ms. Merkel acknowledged that Europe is too slow and does not have a common policy with China. “It is the cities, not the countries, that will have to take on the challenges" (Greg Clarck, Global Cities).
  10. BaDEx Business Model and new indicators. "The economic system is broken in many ways. One of them is that the price paid for a bag or a bottle does not reflect the true price for society. In many ways, we are witnessing an aggressive monetisation of the common good with models such as BaDEx business (Cheap, Destructive and Exploitative) that depend on destructive practices and that take advantage of the common good without caring. Governments have to intervene and promote citizen awareness. " The economist Mariana Mazzucato claimed new economic indicators beyond GDP (I recommend her book 'The value of things’).

In 2020, ten opposing themes: Trump and Greta, Antonio Guterrres and Prince Charles, Trees and UpLink, Zahadi and Ivanka, Harari and Pichai, Jonas Prising and Bob Moritz, Wadler and will.i.am, Benioff and Rometty, Merkel and Grag Clarck, Al Gore and Mazzucato.

Some of the practical lessons for companies are:

  • Share and apply the Davos Manifesto 
  • Improve talent selection considerably
  • Focus on sustainability
  • Promote dialogue (especially career conversations) to build trust
  • Connect the Business Model with the modelling of a leadership profile for the company and the objective, scientific assessment of each professional in regards to that profile.

We could establish a common denominator in these 10 x 2 issues of Davos 2020: Modelling and Scientific Measurement of Leadership, to avoid complacency and alarmism, to measure the important, to prioritise valuable initiatives, to dialogue more and better, to lead really multidimensional leadership (attentive to customers, employees, shareholders and society as a whole). 

If you don't measure, you don't get. If you do it subjectively, the results will be biased. Without a proper ‘Leadership Model’, the profitability of capability development initiatives will be close to zero.

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Juan Carlos Cubeiro

Juan Carlos Cubeiro

President for Europe for the About my Brain Institute. Juan Carlos is an international expert, professor and speaker in talent, leadership and coaching as well as a prolific writer, author of 49 books. Honorary President for the Spanish Coaching Association (AECOP) and President of the European Institute of Diversity for Spain. He has received many awards including the Human Leader and the LIDEREX Award for Leadership Excellence. He is the coach of many CEOs and works with Executive Committees across many organisations in Europe.

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