Leadership, courage, and the power of collective thinking

As governments around the world take special measures to confront the COVID-19 global health crisis, people are grateful for their actions. In the end, every leader is responsible for his or her own choices, and leaders, at all levels, will have to make tough decisions that have consequences.

What leaders need is courage, including the courage to prioritize. As soldiers say: Those who defend everything in effect defend nothing. If everything is a priority, then nothing becomes a priority.

So I urge our leaders in both government and business to be brave. At times of crisis, it is not always easy to know if being brave and being right are the same thing: The line between bravery and foolishness can be thin and it is often only with hindsight that we know which actions were, in the end, the correct ones. But I still say: Be brave, do something, take

Read more

A test for leaders: Creating certainty amid uncertainty

With each passing day, COVID-19 continues to take its toll on people’s lives, threatening their health and their jobs. It is also creating a challenge for executives that few expected or were prepared for, particularly because it’s been a dozen years since the last economic crisis. Employees are asking questions that leaders cannot answer. When will this end? What will this mean for our company? What will this mean for my job?

And so leaders must respond to the challenge by creating, in their words and their deeds, as much certainty as they can provide, to help pull people out of the swirl of reading relentlessly grim headlines (“doom-surfing,” as I’ve heard it called) to focus instead on their jobs, even with the added burdens of working from home and perhaps looking after children.

Understanding that creating a semblance of certainty is among the most important tasks leaders can undertake

Read more

“Telehealth for all” could be the answer to healthcare reform

The coronavirus is getting us comfortable with the virtual doctor’s appointment, and that’s going to ultimately change the entire conversation about the cost of healthcare.

The U.S. healthcare system is expensive and difficult to “fix” for a lot of well-documented reasons, from the oddity of health insurance as a third-party intermediary to a business model that profits most when people are sick. But the problems all collapse into one core fact: There’s vastly more demand for healthcare than supply. So, naturally, prices surge.

Technology is poised to flip healthcare from scarcity to abundance. Think of this in the context of Google Maps. A couple of decades ago, a map wasn’t exactly scarce, but you had to trudge to a store and pay money for a physical product that was printed in limited quantities. Today, every owner of a smartphone can tap a screen and get a map instantly

Read more

Doubling down on upcycling

The Inside the Mind of the CEO interview series explores a wide range of critical decisions faced by chief executives around the world. For more insight, see PwC’s CEO Survey.

One person’s trash is another’s treasure. At Miniwiz, a startup based in Taipei, Taiwan, the focus is on both. Cofounded in 2005 by Arthur Huang when he was 27 years old, the company has become a pioneer in the practice of upcycling — the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, and unusable or unwanted products into building materials, furniture, and other design objects.

Huang, who holds a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard University, started his career as a professor, teaching material engineering and architecture design courses. But he decided that he could make a bigger impact on the world by changing the recycling industry from within. Miniwiz, which first entered the market with a portable energy charger, has

Read more

Leading through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency

The coronavirus crisis is unlike any we have seen in recent memory. Its impact on our collective physical, mental, and economic health has elements in common with the 1918 influenza pandemic, the wave of terror bombings in the early 2000s, and the economic crash of 2008. It’s an inflection point, beyond which our personal and professional lives will be changed in ways we can’t yet fully understand.

Nevertheless, we must persevere. Our organizations need to survive both as vital components of the global economic engine and integral threads in the fabric of social coherence. Many people derive not just financial reward but some of the meaning in their lives from the work they do. They consider their coworkers to be part of their extended family. The workday is a metronome in the rhythm of their lives. Forging a new normal falls largely on the shoulders of those who lead. Regardless

Read more