Since the pandemic, different, even conflicting narratives have advanced the discussions on effective leadership. Were some countries better equipped to deal with the pandemic because of greater foresight on the part of their leadership? Or were there other factors at play? What inherent and systemic biases can our leadership be immune to in organizational (or governance) settings when they are removed from the consciousness and concerns of those they lead?
Drawing from a range of case studies and evidence-based research, these presentations will scope problems facing forward-thinking organizations and societies today showcasing the best in data storytelling. Each speaker will answer the question of whether these are troubling times or really the golden age of leadership with unique recommendations. You can watch the event's entire video recording below:
Additional questions the panelists couldn't get to during the event are posted here with their responses below.
How are AI, Big Data and new tech going to affect the research methods we use to understand or improve leadership? How was this done in the past?
Zeynep Aydin, Research Strategy Group: Technologies that are emerging in the insights space are enabling agile and instant insights at the fingertips of the leader and their team. This ensures that decision-making is more evidence-and less gut-based than it used to be. Meanwhile, with advances in behavioural economics we are also uncovering that human beings are not utility-maximizing machines. Their behavioural patterns are more complex than previously thought. Data science can simulate and predict these patterns, better than ever before.
The ability to work through contradictions or cognitive dissonance is something most great leaders seem to have. We have seen this in politics, in the corporate sphere and even with non-profits. What is the best way to handle conflicting beliefs?
Dr. Ada Le, BEworks: Conflicting beliefs are wonderful. They are the key for rapid advancement in our society and economy. How? Conflicting beliefs or ideas can be turned into hypotheses. You can have multiple hypotheses (sometimes competing ones) for the same issue. For instance, I might hypothesize that customers would be more likely to adopt online shopping if they are given subscribe and save options, because it allows online shopping to become even easier and hassle free. Or I might hypothesize that customers would be more likely to adopt online shopping if the experience mimics an in-store shopping experience (by giving the customer an enhanced sensory experience). Having competing hypotheses are key inputs for testing via experimentation. It’s not about the loudest voice in the room. Experimentation allows for a democratic examination into which hypothesis is most well-supported by the data. And that’s why scientific thinking and the scientific method are so powerful.
How should the communications and research departments in firms or governing bodies be designed to work together in order to facilitate the most cost-efficient accountability measurement mechanisms?
Lisel Douglas, Accountable Leadership: How they should be designed will vary on a case by case basis, but in working together, they can simply be utilized as different aspects of an organization’s approach to accountability. Cost can be minimized depending on the research methods used, and resources allocated to various components of the approach.
Research feeds into the process of prescribing or designing leadership accountability, benchmarking against competitors or counterparts, identifying values, behaviours and outcomes, and evaluating performance. Research should have a significant influence on decision-making and help with improving outcomes for stakeholders by offsetting risks from ignorance or negligence. This is a good example of practicing pre-accountability (being prepared for or offsetting risks).
Communications plays a great role in demonstrating accountability to the public and establishing public trust. It operates to create alignment, or resolve or acknowledge any discrepancies between what is said and done, supports all the other identified elements of accountability according to the context, such as transparency, equipping others with information, and ensures that narratives are consistent. A very important thing to note is that communication should never supersede actions or reality. It should be used to promote or address reality not promote preferable alternatives to reality. Essentially, communications plays a supportive role.
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