What CEOs of the Future Need to Know

Question: What does the CEO of the future need to know?

Blair Sheppard: So the Indra Nooyi just said at the Washington Economic Forum, that the CEO of the future needs to know public policy as well as they know business, needs to know health as well as they know business, and so they're the same thing. Firms need to be creating people who are multi-civilizational [sic] and multi-disciplinary.

The phrase she uses draws on a classic philosopher that says, we need to create foxes not hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are very, very deep in one domain of knowledge. Foxes know a lot about many, many things, and therefore can, in a sense, keep themselves alive in the kind of world we find ourselves in today.

Question: How can leaders thrive in economic crisis?

Blair Sheppard: You have to be engaged in two mindsets, which are mutually contradictory. The first is clean the closet, the second is reinvent your wardrobe.

Put in business terms, get rid of all those things that are no longer making money, that are no longer productive businesses, and engender innovation.

One of the things that worries me a lot that's going on in United States is that we're doing a great job of the former. We're shrinking, we're re-cutting deals, we're laying-off employees, we're doing all sorts of stuffs. But I don't see us investing in innovation. So where is the money that's going into creating new VC [venture capital]? At the same time we've got this huge stimulus package, what portion of the stimulus package is being put against innovation? I don't think it is basically; there's a little bit in energy. But mostly what we were doing is investing in things we know work.

The nation needs to behave like a company in this case, which is, we've got to trim, we've got to take the fat out. That means we're going to have all sorts of social consequences, but the same time, we've got to invent the future. Firms need to do the same things.

So the question of, should I control from the center or should I encourage collaborative innovation from the periphery, the answer is yes.


Dean of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University Blair Sheppard cites PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi in this video on progressive thinking for the 21st-century. Hint: You need to be more like a fox and less like a hedgehog.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.