Global Connect Admin at the Presidents Summit 2021

Presidents Summit 2021

Last month the Global Connect Admin and Global Connect Consultancy team was a VIP attendee at the Presidents Summit 2021 in Copenhagen. The event was held on 8 and 9 November and opened its doors for over 3500 attendees.  The theme of 2021 was ‘Growth’: Deliver the tools necessary to lead through an increasingly changing world. During uncertainty, it is more important than ever to focus on topics that matter most.

At the event, we experienced the warm hospitality of companies from our business neighbors from the north of Europe. We forged new relationships and became inspired by world-leading insights from both guest speakers and other attendees. The Presidents Institute created facilities for learning, inspiration and networking. At the Networking Area and Muteboxes, you could formally network with potential partners, investors or talents. The networking possibilities did not stop there: You could grab a coffee and a Hindbaersnitter (Danish raspberry bar) and connect with other people in a multitude of areas. In our case, we met many amazing people in the VIP Lounge.

Curious about what it was like to experience the Presidents Summit? Here is our summary of the speakers at the Main Stage.

Day 1

Digital Transformation

The first speaker was Don Tapscott, Executive Chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society. Consultants, executives and pundits toss around buzzwords such as AI, blockchain and big data. However, the biggest challenge for all leaders is understanding and utilizing emerging technologies. Technology continues to change the business landscape every day. Tapscott advised us how to prepare for this change.

His key takeaways on digital thinking were:

The way we view money and trust is changing. Meanwhile, leadership crises are everywhere. Therefore, we are the ones achieving our future

Winning from Within

The second speaker was Erica Ariel Fox, a world-renowned expert on transformation for business leaders. Her goal and mission are to guide leaders back to their heroic nature so that they can lead the future toward wholeness. She explained to us that life is a series of negotiations. We often focus on ‘the other side’ and try to avoid ‘difficult people.’ However, it turns out that the most important negotiations are the negotiations we have with ourselves. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that what makes us tick leads to better results, stronger relationships, and life rewards vital to you.

Her key takeaways on winning from within were:

We often get in our way. When problems and challenges occur, it is essential to understand yourself learn how to be a 360 degrees leader.

2 Planets: Analogue V Digital

The third speaker was Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman of S4 Capital. Sorrell talked about how marketing practice has a continuous change. A common problem is not understanding how to spend advertising effectively. Nowadays, data is underpinning every euro spent in marketing, resulting in new demands towards clients, agencies and marketing roles as a whole.

His key takeaways on digital marketing were:

Digital marketing is the future. One thing has not changed; your organization should reflect that community to reach the community you want to operate. In the end, it is essential to realize how your organization and target groups implement digitalization.

Innovation Culture

The fourth speaker was Alexander Osterwalder, innovation entrepreneur and inventor of the business model ‘canvas.’ He thinks that innovation and change within companies are crucial today. If you are an ambitious company, you must develop and implement an innovative strategy. However, innovation does not come from the top-down but the bottom-up. Therefore, the first step towards innovation culture is to build an invincible company.

His key takeaways on innovation culture were:

As an organization, you need to think about the bigger picture. It is vital to explore and exploit the future. Not sure where to start? Make sure your ideas and strategy are evidence-based. Not sure what ‘good’ evidence is? A potential client saying your product is good is less evidence than when they are willing to spend money on your prototype product/service.

Building a Winning Culture

The fifth speaker was Manny Maceda, Worldwide Managing Partner of Bain & Company. He explained to us how and why his company has a high level of employee satisfaction and is often voted as the best company to work for. He dares to ask questions such as “How good are you at leading, inspiring and motivating the people?” In the current post-pandemic world, even the best jobs are seeing massive turnover, resulting in a colossal key challenge in leadership.

His key takeaways on building a winning culture were:

Discover what your ‘true north’ is; what direction do you want to go with your people and your leadership? Leaders who implement feedback loops reinforce value. After all, talent loyalty is the future.

Organizational intelligence

The final speaker was George Yip, a professor emeritus at Imperial College in London and a renowned expert on the rise of China. He recently studied what makes radical change difficult and why companies are often stuck in continuity and incremental innovation. If you want to leapfrog the competition and be innovative, you should take calculated bets and encourage transformation. Yip, therefore, identified and coined a new term: Organizational Intelligence (OQ). This term is defined as a leader’s ability to motivate and organize thousands of employees to embrace and implement a change strategy.

His key takeaways on OQ were:

As a leader, it is best to set reachable goals for your company and its people. Setting up unreachable goals kills motivation and innovation. Celebrating small goals increases long-term success.

Day 2

Successful Leadership

The first speaker was Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach to over 150 prominent CEOs. He continues to develop his insights based on the conversations he has with leaders every day. Goldsmith enthusiastically explained that behavioral problems are in the way of successful leadership, not technical skills. Many people do well in the field, but something is standing between them and the next level of achievement. With the right tools and skills, you can break through your barrier and become your executive coach.

His key takeaways on successful leadership were:

A CEO does not need to be ‘the smartest’; if this were the case, the company would not require a CEO. A CEO’s job is to lead. Always thank people for giving you feedback and realize that you can only change if you want to change. 

Leadership in Complex Times

The second speaker was Jill Ader, Chairwomen of Egon Zehnder, a world-leading executive search firm. One of her goals is to spark a global leadership movement as a force for good in the world. She mentioned that the life force of our current and future world is leadership. “The pandemic is a catalyst of change, and the role of leadership will be redefined.” If you rebuild or transform your business, key questions will play a substantial role in intensifying the current talent war. She shared her views on the future of work, recruiting and retaining top talent, and becoming a humane yet and inclusive leader.

Her key takeaways on leadership in complex times were:

Fear blinds us to find solutions. To find the best possible solution, leaders should listen to their employees. Many people are ready to leave their jobs, and burnouts are increasing. The difference between a leader and a great leader is the amount of humanity you are willing to show.

Principles of Consciousness

The third speaker was Anil Seth, Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and Co-Director of the world’s leading research center on consciousness. Through his words, supported with audio and video, he explained how understanding consciousness is one of the most significant challenges for the 21st Century science. Our brains give us rise to the rich inner universe of ‘being ourselves.’ Seth’s mission is to explain how consciousness happens and use these insights to understand better how our minds capture the world. What does ‘being you’ actually mean?

His takeaways on the principles of consciousness are:

You do not always see things as they are. Simple matters, such as how one sees color, already differ. Therefore, sometimes you need to take a step back and look at what is happening. Talk to others and share experiences. The ‘you’ you think you are is not always the ‘you’ others see.

Sustainable Leadership

The fourth speaker was Mads Nipper, Group CEO of Ørsted. Nipper explained sustainability and how it has been at the forefront of the business agenda for the past decades. He explained to us how you can become more sustainable and how this will bring superior returns for your company. With ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) it is all about how your products and services contribute to sustainable development.

While it costs time and effort to invest in green solutions, it is worthwhile in the long run. Who wants to attain long-term success must invest in long-term solutions. Honesty is the best policy.

Unleash your Potential

The last speaker was Whitney Johnson, a lecturer at Harvard and savvy investor. She introduced the groundbreaking idea on the S-curve of disruption. Everyone agrees that companies need to innovate to stay in fashion. However, only a few people consider this to be important on a personal level as well. If you want to remain relevant and get better, you need to be constant upwards. She explained how the S-curve of disruption enables you to leap towards your maximum potential.

Her key takeaways on unleashing potential were:

Learning never stops whether you are on entry, mid or c-suite level. When you just started something new, your need support to begin surfing up the S-curve so you can find your ‘sweet spot.’ However, when you are at the top of the curve, you need to find something that motivates you again. If you understand how to do this, you will unleash your potential.

Conclusion

The Presidents Summit is where we encountered big ideas, wide-reaching topics and thought-leading insights. We met knowledgeable thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers. We entered the summit with curiosity and excitement and left the venue with new business partners and business inspiration.