Leading Ahead of What's Next: The New Rules of Business
The whole world of business is changing in historic and profound ways – technological disruption, government’s role, and the balance of global economic power are shifting massively — and it’s happening fast! While political winds may blow toward restrictions on trade and immigration, the trends powering the friction-free economy are technological and going strong. Competing and winning in business today requires extraordinary leadership at every level of the organization. Colvin has a unique perspective rooted in long-standing relationships with the world’s top leaders in business and government. He knows what they’re seeing, thinking, and planning and reveals how they’re leading, making choices, and responding to today’s challenges in ways that others can learn from. A unifying theme as the economy transforms is that in almost every business, barriers to entry are coming down. Geoff’s message is optimistic and energizing: Opportunity is more widely available than ever. Every organization, and every person, can possess the 21st Century’s most valuable assets – openness to new ideas, ingenuity, and imagination.
Political Chaos & Your Business
The main theme of the Trump administration is unpredictability. President Trump has said that his unpredictability is a deliberate strategy. That makes the strategic planning a huge challenge for business leaders everywhere. Geoff Colvin helps unwind the impact of Washington in terms you won’t hear elsewhere. Economic growth, consumer demand, interest rates, taxes, employment costs – cable news doesn’t spend much time on those issues, but all of them are set to change, transforming the business environment in important ways. That’s why business people must keep the most significant issues in mind, even when the daily Washington chatter wanders away from them. Geoff explains why partisanship won’t decrease and policy stability will remain a dream. Yet business can’t afford to be paralyzed. Geoff shows how the most successful business leaders are competing and winning in this uncertain environment. He brings a message of optimism that too often gets lost in the political rough and tumble.
The Economic Outlook
Even before the new alignment of power in Washington, it was the question on every business leader’s mind: Where are the U.S. and global economies going? Now it’s more urgent – and uncertain. In opinion surveys, top CEOs and ordinary consumers say the same thing: There’s too much change, too fast; we can’t keep up. We all remember a time when it was easier to anticipate where things might be headed, when the consequences of misjudgment were less severe. Now a meltdown of financial markets in China can ripple globally and take down a trillion dollars in assets in a single day – and such volatility is becoming more common. The economic picture changes by the day, and Geoff Colvin has a brilliant perch at Fortune to view it all – to get ahead of official statistics to uncover what’s going on. He reflects on the varied forces driving economic change and offers a glimpse of where each may take us.
Talent is Overrated: Unexpected Truths of Great Performance
What if everything you know about raw talent, hard work, and great performance is wrong? Scientific research on great performance shows that what most of us believe is off-base – which means most of us will never perform as well as we could. Geoff Colvin, author of the groundbreaking international bestseller Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, explains the findings and relates them to real life in real organizations. He shows how most organizations value the wrong things – that passion, honesty, and learning are more valuable than hours, IQ, or “native ability.” Geoff demonstrates that world-class performance comes from behaviors that every person and organization can adopt. Those who apply these principles gain a tremendous competitive advantage.
Humans are Underrated: Building the New High Level Skills
It’s one of the largest questions facing organizations and individuals today: What will people do better than computers? As technology gallops ahead, taking over more skilled and highly paid work, how will people keep adding value? A leading economist says these issues are “the defining economic feature of our era.” Geoff Colvin explains the issues and answers the questions, showing how people can keep adding value – more than ever – by becoming excellent at the deepest, most essentially human skills.
Among the most important:
- Empathy. It doesn’t just mean feeling someone else’s pain.It means discerning what another person is thinking or feeling – whether it’s pain, interest, confusion, fear, desire, or anything else – and responding in an appropriate way. An ability to do that in any setting is crucial to building powerful relationships and is the foundation of all the other high-value skills.
- Creative problem-solving in groups. The problems that most organizations face today are too complex for anyone to solve alone. The work must be done by teams, and the key to team effectiveness isn’t what most people think. Rather than IQ, cohesion, or motivation, the critical factor is the members’ social sensitivity, their ability to “read” one another. That’s more important than all the other factors combined.
- Storytelling. Organizations haven’t traditionally valued storytelling. Instead they value charts and graphs. Companies will always have to make decisions based on rational analysis of data – but that’s exactly what technology does so well, encompassing more data and stronger analysis every day. Human value is migrating elsewhere. And if you want to change people’s minds, if you want to inspire them to act, tell them a story.
While some think of these skills as traits (you’ve got them or you don’t), Colvin shows how they are trainable skills and how leading organizations are developing them right now. We can all get better at them, and we all will have to.
Based on his book Humans Are Underrated, which The New York Times calls “profound,” Colvin’s talk is inspiring, entertaining, mind-opening, and highly practical.
Panel Moderator, Discussion Leader, Emcee/Host
Geoff Colvin’s unique gift is his ability to brilliantly moderate panels, lead onstage interviews and host/emcee. He’s played these roles for more than two decades at Fortune magazine’s most prestigious conferences worldwide. Top corporations and associations regularly utilize Geoff because he has a gift for getting the most out of participants; asking the right questions, listening intently to what’s being said on stage and responding to that -- keeping the discussion relevant and the energy high. He is so skilled that many top firms can’t imagine doing an important program without him. As an attendee at a recent conference told the event organizer, “Geoff Colvin literally made this conference.”