Imagining the Future of Leadership

Harvard Business Review Blog Series,, April- May 2010.

This six-week blog series arose when Harvard professors were asked how leadership might look in the future. Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, was Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s answer to the question: Who do you imagine as the future face of leadership? She pictures Indra Nooyi because she is: “cross-cultural, female, visionary, and values driven.” Under Nooyi, PepsiCo has created innovative public recycling kiosks and funded social innovation non-profits. She has led PepsiCo to examine and improve the health implications of its products as they move into emerging markets.

According to Kanter, Nooyi is: “adding societal values to financial values to create a meaningful human institution out of a bundle of impersonal assets.” Kanter provides other examples of her broader point – future leaders will want to bring their values to work and make a positive difference in their workplace and the world.

The comments to the posts are particularly worth reading. One commentator brings our attention back to the contributions we make as customers to the leaders we get: “It is adaptation to consumer wants and demands that makes a great leader.” So it is that as we imagine the future of leadership we should also imagine who we will be in the future. What values will we hold as a society that leaders of tomorrow will embody?

Other recommended posts include: Leadership – It’s (Much) More than Position, A Call for Mindful Leadership, Leading from Behind, Leadership in the Age of Climate Change, and Does Leadership Change in a Web 2.0 World.

Various fields of academic research shed light on how leaders might be called upon in the future. There is plenty to challenge you with over twenty provocative blog posts to browse.

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