CEO’s in the Spotlight at the Milken Institute Conference

At this week’s Milken Institute Global Conference, CEOs from five of the world’s most respected companies discussed how to navigate a changing world filled with volatility and uncertainty. The executives represented companies that are not the hothouse disruptors of the technology industry, but some of the world’s largest corporate titans — EY, Goldman Sachs, General Mills, Siemens USA and Viacom. And that’s what made these CEO’s responses all the more interesting.

Progress and Profit: Women Leaders in Big Law Firms

Women’s issues in corporate America are on center stage. Topics such as the number of women among senior executives and pay differences between genders are news stories that resonate have become the subject of policy debate. But “big law,” an industry nickname for the nation’s hundred largest law firms, largely has avoided this attention.

Morpheus’s Bargain: A Psychosocial Explanation of Political Division

In the 1999 film The Matrix, the sage Morpheus offered the neophyte Neo a bargain. He presented two pills, one red, one blue. One brought enlightenment, one obliviousness. In the political landscape of today, it seems as if everyone has accepted that bargain and swallowed one or the other pill. Whether red or blue pill is incidental. It’s irrevocable. There’s no turning back.

What’s In Your Closet

Everybody’s got a closet. Mainly youthful indiscretions or poor judgment, to be sure. But be prepared, because the odds are getting better that that closet will see the light of day. The combination of today’s schadenfreude—the pleasure derived from another’s misfortune—and access to events long forgotten, is so potent that everyone needs a strategy.

Negotiation Principles that affect Policy

To understand why the deal on the government shutdown and border security reached by Congress, and signed by the President, succeeded the second time, it’s a must to understand why it failed the first time. As Santayana extolls, “those that ignore history are destined to repeat it.” In today’s news cycle, a month ago is history.

Davos or Bust

The World Economic Forum’s annual Davos gathering—the most celebrated of all the international policy conferences—is so coveted an invitation that it is on the bucket list of almost every industry executive and government leader with global ambitions.

Since when are CEOs more Trusted than Deans?

Conventional wisdom would have it that university leaders as seen as more reformist that business leaders. The underlying logic is that universities are in the vanguard of social movements, whereas businesses favor the status-quo. Counter-intuitively, research shows just the opposite; that CEOs are seen as more progressive than Deans.

CEOs Veer into the Celebrity Lane

CEO’s have generally been a shy lot, not wanting to draw attention to themselves or their firms. Quarterly earnings reports were enough publicity. CEO’s were, traditionally, all about business. But that’s changed over the last few years. CEO’s are not just in the spotlight, but they seem to purse. Doing so may be ill-advised.

Growing up and Moving on: Zuckerberg and Facebook

Make no mistake, Wall Street is conferencing, shareholders are whispering, users are wounded, and politicians are watching. By any reasonable standard in corporate America, Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Facebook, the company he founded with his friends in a Harvard University dorm room in 2004, is under an electron-microscope. And for good reason.

Why Business Leaders often Fail and Politics and Policy

The idea of a corporate executive turning into a politician and policymaker is gaining momentum. Starbucks’ Howard Shultz has teased his interest in running for president, following in the footsteps of entrepreneur/reality TV star Mark Cuban and celebrity media titan Oprah Winfrey. Yet, one wonders whether leading corporations results in great preparation for the world of politics and policy making. Perhaps it only makes the newly minted politician particularly vulnerable to the limits of political life and ventures.

See Lessons On Leadership Archive

Subscribe to Lessons on Leadership

Read Professor Bailey’s Column: At the Helm

Video Lessons