Learning and Listening to the Global Agenda

An important part of leadership development is paying attention to what is happening in the world. If the Midwest is to find its place in the global economy, leaders in this locale must understand what is happening globally.

A good starting place is reading the Global Agenda Outlook. This document comes together annually from the thinking, reflecting, surveys, and face-to-face interactions of 1,500 world thought leaders under the direction of the World Economic Forum. They consider what we must watch; the trends and developments taking place globally. The 2013 thinkers see the volatile economy and its stability as an essential item. China is becoming a dominate world player…just consider that China has 1 billion cellphone users. What will this expanding economy mean for the world? Yet there will also be problems within globalization related to inequity of financial distribution (and its growing gap), environmental concerns, technological inventions, and a leadership capable of responding. Leadership must be prepared and learning into the future. As Marc Davis of Microsoft observes, “Leaders today have been trained in a world that no longer exists.” Leadership must be thinking in new ways, with new ideas. It cannot rely on past learning and techniques to support the future. New ideas, innovations, and collaborations must become the norm.

A final call in this global agenda is to develop trust. As Chan Yeun Yang, professor of journalism in Hong Kong observes, trust of institutions is waning because they have not always been accountable, truthful or trustworthy. She observes we are more trustful of our friends via social media—worldwide–than we are of institutions; a new “network of trust” has emerged over the past few years.

Are leaders paying attention? Do they believe their communities are insulated from a new developing world and its markets? Do leaders believe the techniques and strategies of the past will solve the problems of the future? If so, they will lead their communities into stagnation or worse, an end. The challenge ahead must be learning and listening to the global agenda. Take the challenge, prepare, and lead communities to places they will be competitive and well positioned for the future.