Innovation and Leadership: Lessons from the World Business Forum | Queen's University IRC

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Innovation and Leadership: Lessons from the World Business Forum

Stephanie Noel, Queen's IRC Business Development Manager
Publication date: October, 2012
Stephanie Noel and Barbara Corcoran at WOBI (Photo courtesy of Photography by Dov)
Stephanie Noel and Barbara Corcoran at WOBI (Photo Courtesy of Photography by Dov)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the World Business Forum in New York City. I was impressed with the outstanding speakers who addressed many of the key themes that we discuss in our programs; creating great leaders, managing change, and how to have the right people in the right roles in your organization. The conference highlighted the characteristics of good leadership, the importance of people to innovation, and the challenges of doing business in the 21st century.

Among the speakers were Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and star of the reality show Shark Tank, Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, and Robert Gates, President of Texas A&M and former U.S. Secretary of Defense. Michael Porter, Professor at Harvard Business School, and Jim Collins, best-selling author also spoke at the event.

I would like to share some of my key takeaways from the conference:

  • Hire generous leaders who want to see others succeed. An effective leader recognizes the importance of coaching and mentoring and will put forward the shining star for promotion, even if the star is better than the leader. (Welch)
  • Successful leaders are transparent in their decision-making. Senior leaders need to be accountable; no one is above reproach. (Gates)
  • Businesses have the power to help with societal, environmental, and economic problems. Instead of handing over a cheque to a charity, consider aligning your organization with a charity that needs your product. (Porter)
  • Organizations that want to endure need to think long term, look critically at their business plan, consider their goals, and assess the brutal facts about their company. (Collins)
  • Innovative leaders let failure drive them to success. They expand their businesses before they are ready. Entrepreneurs need to remember that perception is reality. (Corcoran)