World Business Forum Excels

The inaugural World Business Forum in Sydney 2 weeks ago was beyond any conference I have attended over more than 25 years as a consultant and advisor working with executive teams across the domains of strategy, leadership and change.    

The conference delivered genuine thought leadership across key issues today: creativity; strategy; big data; global economics and politics; creative leadership; innovation; execution; social media; and the psychology of leadership. 

Ordinarily I would look at a conference program like this and think it was just a grab bag of ‘hot topics’.  But these speakers were exceptional!

When pushed to articulate a couple of key takeaways I realised there were simply too many to reduce it to a few glib lines.  I have begun to distil the insights from each presentation into a series of blog posts that will follow over the next few weeks.  Every speaker had genuinely fresh insights. 

Here’s a sample of some of the ideas that captured my attention:

  • Hire people not for who they are … hire for who they will become … the mantra of Cirque du Soleil   

  • Strategy is not about competing to be the best … it’s about competing to be different

  • Embrace transparency … it is the future

  • Managers as surfers … catch the wave early, get off before it dumps you

  • Creative leaders emotionalise … rational thinking leads to conclusions, emotional thinking leads to action

  • Our value share in an ecosystem comes from our share of passion … organisations need passion to overcome ADD (ambition deficit disorder)

  • Execution creates capacity … ideas come to you because you get things done

  • What’s new?  What’s next?  Thought starter conversation piece

  • A 3D printer produced 10 homes in one day … the future is already here

The failure to deliver on strategy's promise distils down to three issues: failure to see; failure to move; failure to finish.  A conference like this gives us a chance to refocus our efforts: to catalyse fresh insights; create movement within organisations; and build an execution culture to finish what we begin.  

Perhaps the key take-away is simple: my passion has been reignited to share my philosophies and beliefs with clients to help them transform their organisations through ‘radical incrementalism’.  All of us have to fight ‘ambition deficit disorder’ no matter the daily challenges.   

The World Business Forum plans another event next year. Make a promise to yourself to attend.  If you live in Perth and are interested in being part of a contingent from the west, contact me via email (see below).  I hope we can convene a ‘table’ so that we can share the insights and build a community of interest. 

Perhaps the most entertaining presenter was the global CEO Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts.  He shared many videos with us: here’s one: Lessons from Geese: Saatchi & Saatchi