In 2016, we launched A Call to Lead, a world-class leadership summit that began as a tiny networking breakfast for women leaders and has since evolved into the marquee event and unofficial kick off to the annual SAPPHIRE NOW conference.
A Call to Lead has grown in size and scale every year and has now featured luminaries ranging from former U.S. presidents, first ladies, and secretaries of state to business titans from every industry and corner of the globe. The event tackles the questions and challenges of leadership in the 21st century — what are the new and different leadership behaviors emerging today, what are the traits that are never going out of style, and what does all of this mean for business, industry, and a world awash in change.
All of our guests share their incredible stories — the triumphs, hardships, and learnings that made them the leader they have become. Our attendees leave A Call to Lead feeling inspired, educated, and armed with a different perspective on their own leadership journey. This year’s A Call to Lead event will be no different and I hope you will consider joining us for it.
But one of the consistent pieces of feedback I received was this: “Jen, the event is one of the best I attend all year, but let’s have this conversation more than once a year.” So, under the heading of things I never thought I would do, we’re doing just that. The team has convinced me to add “podcast host” to my resume and we’re going to have these discussions more regularly. Usually once a week, I’ll sit down with CEOs, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and leaders for authentic, candid, and unscripted conversations about what it takes to lead in the 21st century. As for “Why a podcast?,” the answer is fairly simple. Tomorrow’s leaders are going to be called to lead — in many cases, much earlier in their career. And the person that sits in my chair five or 10 years from now is very likely to be younger than I was when I ascended to this job. Leadership requires intellect, EQ, passion, and wisdom. Wisdom typically comes from time and experience. You can’t manufacture time, but you can share so many different experiences in an authentic and open way. I’m hoping these conversations and stories give emerging leaders the courage and the confidence to create their own colorful palette of leadership and gain inspiration and wisdom from the triumphs and mistakes of those who have gone before them. And that’s what this podcast will be all about. Sharing experiences and stories that might play a small role in readying the next generation to take the helm and answer the call to lead. So we’re hoping the podcast has broad appeal and will be particularly appealing to emerging talent and tomorrow’s leaders.
And I’m excited to announce that the first episode is live! My first guest is the incredible Arianna Huffington, a serial entrepreneur, Uber board member, author, and leadership expert. Arianna shared her view on a broad range of subjects, from connecting people (she’s a master) to building businesses (she’s created many, including Thrive Global) to understanding the zeitgeist and where we are headed. Here are the team’s five takeaways from the first episode. I hope you enjoy!
Five Takeaways from Episode 1: A Call to Lead with Arianna Huffington
- If we don’t continue to learn, we’re going to miss where the world is going. The greatest gift of leadership is being able to tap into where the world is going and see the icebergs before they hit the Titanic. [6:20-9:44]
- To be a risk taker, you can’t be looking over your shoulder for approval. [12:18-13:05]
- Worshipping top performers creates a very toxic culture. No brilliant jerks should be allowed. [14:30-16:06]
- Human capital is the most important capital of the enterprise. [26:20-26:44]
- If you don’t end your day with a bunch of incompletions, your job isn’t challenging or interesting enough. Relentlessly prioritize. [26:56-28:31]
Thank you for joining me and SAP on this journey. I’m excited for you to tune in and you can learn more about the podcast here and on the A Call to Lead website. And be sure to check out next week’s episode featuring the ever entrepreneurial and always interesting marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk.
Where to Listen
Jennifer Morgan is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE.