Magazine article Ivey Business Journal Online

Principles to Advance a New Leadership Ethos

Magazine article Ivey Business Journal Online

Principles to Advance a New Leadership Ethos

Article excerpt

In the aftermath of the dot com bust and the bursting of the telecom bubble in the late 1990s, I gave dozens of speeches about my experience as the President and CEO of Lucent Technologies Canada. People wanted to know what it was like to enjoy the exuberance of the ride up and the shock of the ride down as the company's share price dropped from $75 to $7 and its size was cut in half. They wanted to understand how we maintained morale among employees when many of their colleagues lost their jobs. And they were curious about our plans to get back in the black when so many investors lost money.

In the wake of the most devastating and widespread economic crisis in recent history, this same curiosity, thirst for knowledge and drive to understand compelled Ivey to bring together more than 250 senior executive and CEOs from across the globe. Through a recent series of roundtables, held in New York, Hong Kong, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, London, Ontario and London, England, we set out to debate and dissect the current economic crisis and its implications for future business leadership. We wanted to find out what happened, why it happened and how we, as business educators, could help to make sure that it never happens again.

To set the stage for these discussions, Ivey Professors Jeffrey Gandz, Mary Crossan, Gerard Seijts, Stephen Sapp and Mark Vandenbosch, the leaders of this initiative, developed a background paper, called "Leadership on Trial." The introduction includes four main questions:

* "What went wrong with leadership that contributed to the 2008/9 financial crisis and the devastation to people, organizations and national economies that followed it?

* "Was this problem with leadership confined to the few organizations at the epicenter of the financial meltdown or did this crisis reveal more broadly based problems with leadership in both private and public sectors?

* "What can we learn from those organizations and leaders who anticipated the crisis and avoided it completely, or who coped well throughout the last couple of years and are therefore in good shape to benefit from the recovery?

* "What more do we need to do, or do differently, to prepare the current generation of leaders to deal with the kinds of challenges that we have seen corporations, governments and not-for-profit organizations face in the last couple of years and for those - as yet unknown - that they will face in the future?"

Lively dialogue and passionate debate soon ensued as leaders from a variety of vibrant sectors - from the financial, manufacturing and high tech to the arts and government - shared their observations and lessons learned. …

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