Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Chair and Director, Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative

How will this age be remembered?

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Hopefully, says Rosabeth Moss Kanter, we will have invested more in brain power than in oil.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments. The former Editor of Harvard Business Review (1989-1992), Professor Kanter has been named to lists of the "50 most powerful women in the world" (Times of London), and the "50 most influential business thinkers in the world" (Accenture and Thinkers 50 research). In 2001, she received the Academy of Management's Distinguished Career Award for her scholarly contributions to management knowledge, and in 2002 was named "Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year" by the World Teleport Association.  

Kanter is well known for her classic 1977 study of "tokenism" on how being a minority can affect one's performance due to enhanced visibility and performance pressure. She is the author or co-author of 17 books, focused largely on business management techniques, especially change management. Her most recent book, America the Principled: 6 Opportunities for Becoming a Can-Do Nation Once Again sets forward a positive agenda for the nation. Her previous book, Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End was a New York Times business bestseller and a BusinessWeek #1 bestseller. The book draws on more than 300 interviews with leaders in business, sport and politics to explore the role confidence plays in the performance of institutions and individuals.


Question: How will this age be remembered?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter: I think the turn of the 21st century will be memb … will be remembered as a perilous time where we had choices about whether we were going to try to make the world better, or give up and let it go into decline. I hope that by 2010, 2015, we will already see the solutions. I think it will also be remembered as the time when brain power replaced oil as our most important resource, and we invested more in the development of brain power than we did in the search for oil. And that brain power helped us find alternative fuels. I hope it will be remembered as the age when the American century which is what the 20th century is sometimes called … will have become the world century, and America will still be an important part of it, but will be a partner with other countries that have lifted their standard of lifting, and now play a leadership part in the world.

Recorded on: 6/13/07