The Financial Times carried an article on Tuesday where Richard Edelman, chief executive of communications consultancy Edelman, talked about public confidence, drawing conclusions from the Trust Barometer carried out every year at the same period.
Actually, it shows more than ever the meltdown of confidence in leadership, in politics, in business and in public policies. No wonder, of course, with all the massive issues that we have to deal with.
But a clear message to the gathering here in Davos: this is a time to show what drives us. To openly debate the issues, the challenges, the solutions and most of all provide transparency where needed. Confidence, of course, is built on results, but lacking those, it is mandatory that leadership shows a willingness to debate in the open.
Davos has a great opportunity to value different points of views and promote willingness for change. The first indications give me hope that we are willing to listen and absorb; but also to challenge long-held beliefs and let younger people to have a voice.
Redefining values: The Davos gathering is a mix of experience and youth, background and insights, that will spur the right focus, says Verwaayen. Pascal Lauener / Reuters
The young world leaders, highly talented individuals from all over the world, have very different priorities; they worry more about the glue of the global society and the openness for those who do not yet have access to fair opportunities. This is good to have. The higher the bar, the higher the energy needed to come up with real new solutions.
Remember the 1980s? When there was that debate about what values to pursue? Shareholder values or stakeholder values? Well, the debate is back, and in my view this time stakeholders value will win.
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That doesn’t mean less value for shareholders; it simply means that the almost exclusive domain for shareholders to determine the definition of success will be changed in a slightly more balanced one.
Interesting to see how that will translate: more regulations or behaviourally change?
Walking around here it becomes clear: it is the mix of experience and youth, of background and insights that will spur the right focus. The crisis gives fuel to a more inclusive debate than any I have ever seen before. And that gives hope. And should rebuild the confidence that we will do what it takes.
Ben Verwaayen is chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent.
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