The 2014 CEO Retreat in Cartagena marks the 25th major meeting since the Global Business Polilcy Council was established in 1992. While keeping with the traditions and format of the sessions as intimate, off-the-record discussions, a few A.T. Kearney leaders will be sharing insights about the key topics and themes throughout the event. Please register to add your comments to this discussion.

CEO Retreat Insights and Discussion CEO Retreat Insights and Discussion

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Theory of (Corporate) Justice

“There are no such things as bad teams, only bad leaders.”

I just heard some supportive research here at the CEO Retreat that reinforces this cautionary adage.  The topic is “well-being.” Specifically, what defines well-being  for citizens, employees, and their countries and organizations? How can leaders improve, or even measure, that entire experience—and therefore lead better?

The "aha" insight is intuitive: There are four necessary building blocks for people to engage with their governments, to prosper in their chosen livelihood, to pay taxes willingly, to Instagram only the happy pics…  what have you. These four are trust, compassion, stability, and hope. But how can leaders insist on followership when they only ask, and do not give in return? How can prime ministers and CEOs ask their teams for trust, toleration of lower pay, and job security for buy-in to a nation-building vision when they themselves do not walk the talk? When they fail to govern with honor? It is no surprise that individuals’ faith in all institutions (except, perhaps surprisingly, the U.S. military), and employee engagement scores in most companies, are at all-time lows, everywhere.

My conclusion: Like in the movie, The American President, when President Andrew Shepherd publicly does a grand mea culpa (note the irony in the protagonist’s surname), “I need to stop worrying about keeping my job, and start doing it.”  So, lead by example, engage your employees and citizens with an open spirit, take political risk, and be more authentic and less cynical regarding public service. The flock will follow. They know justice and fairness when they see it. 

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Contributors Contributors

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Johan Aurik
Johan Aurik
Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board
Paul A. Laudicina
Paul A. Laudicina
Chairman Emeritus and Chairman of GBPC
Erik R. Peterson
Erik R. Peterson
Partner and GBPC Managing Director
Daniel Mahler
Daniel Mahler
Head of Americas
Maria Eugenia Fanjul
Maria Eugenia Fanjul
Head of Colombia
Xavier Mesnard
Xavier Mesnard
Partner
Alex Liu
Alex Liu
Partner