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The Takeaway: A Discussion Guide on Leadership

If you were asked to lead a conversation about some of the critical themes in the Summer 2023 issue of People + Strategy journal, what would be the most effective conversation starters to generate actionable insights? Here are the critical questions that are at the core of a few key articles in this issue:  

Reimagining the C-Suite   

by Tim Brown (co-chair), Derek Robson (CEO) of IDEO

  1. Are the current responsibilities for leading the organization evenly distributed across the C-suite? For example, some HR leaders are also now responsible for areas such as real estate and communications. Should the current structure be reassessed? 
  2. Given the endless disruption and new challenges that organizations face, would a flexible structure of the C-suite make more sense? In other words, if you were to start from scratch, how would you organize the C-suite?
  3. Does your CEO have a structured approach to building an informal group of advisors to rely on as brainstorming partners (ideally, outside the normal channels)?
  4. Does your culture place a clear premium on the importance of asking smart questions, rather than coming up with answers?
  5. What can your organization do to help crucial executives avoid burnout?‘Ultimately, the goal would be to create more of a collective leadership body, rather than relying on one person, the CEO, or their direct reports.’


‘Ultimately, the goal would be to create more of a collective leadership body, rather than relying on one person, the CEO, or their direct reports.’

The Manager Reorg

by Pat Wadors, chief people officer at UKG

  1. Does your company have an intentional program to ensure that potential future managers are given a clear picture of what management roles entail (rather than simply promoting strong individual contributors and hoping it will be a good fit)?
  2. Does your organization have systems to get feedback from employees about their direct managers, so that you have a clear picture of who are effective leaders?
  3. What training does your company provide to ensure managers keep a broader enterprise view in mind as they set direction for their teams?
  4. Do you have "accidental" managers in your company—people who were asked to step into the roles temporarily but are now expected to stay in them, even if they would rather do something else?
  5. Does your organization tolerate managers who are the stereotypical high-performing jerks (even if your values state that such managers will not be tolerated)?


    ‘At a time when managers have plenty of reasons to step back from these challenges, organizations need them more than ever to step up and lead.’

Mastering the Matrix

by Mike McMullen, CEO of Agilent, and Harry Feuerstein, president of The ExCo Group  

  1. Does your company's compensation structure, particularly for incentive pay, reward performance of individual business units, or broader enterprisewide success?
  2. Does your organization communicate a list of priorities to employees that sound like mixed messages? Do those priorities explicitly discuss the implicit trade-offs that the priorities require?
  3. Does your organization have a structured system that enables business unit leaders to understand their colleagues' goals at the beginning of the year, which helps reduce the familiar problem of people fighting over resources?
  4. How does your organization define the meaning of trust—and how do you discuss trust with employees?
  5. Are stories of true collaboration across the enterprise celebrated and communicated across the organization to underscore the importance of this role-model behavior?


    ‘Leaders at all levels must own the responsibility of linking their work to the broader strategy, regardless of whether the C-suite is providing that clarity.’


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.