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aver In Davos right now, corporate executives are talking about the economy. On geopolitics. about globalization. Some, like Jane Fraser of Citigroup, have talked about working from home, coaching unproductive employees who don’t work well remotely. And of course, like here, everyone is talking about ChatGPT, the generative AI chatbot.
But at home, my colleague Diane Brady chats with C Suite executives about their careers, as they put together a new video series with members of our CEO’s Next List. From Jesse Levinson, Zoox’s chief technology officer, to Wells Fargo’s chief strategy officer Ather Williams III to David Limp, head of Amazon devices, Diane has been asking these senior executives — who she thinks are likely to be hired soon to be CEO — about their lives career, the lessons they’ve learned, and the focal points they’ve built along the way.
For example, Walgreens retail chief and chief customer officer Tracy Brown tells Diane that she originally wanted to be an engineer at NASA, only to realize she wanted to work with large people and organizations and started her own personal project to study great leaders, reading up on everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln to former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns. What I’m beginning to understand by studying some of the greatest leaders of large organizations is… [that] “They were problem solvers,” she said. “I’m going to build on it and become a great problem solver,” she said, realizing that her background in engineering helped her do that.
Meanwhile, Scott Belsky, Adobe’s chief product officer, revealed that he’s learned a lot about what he wants to do with his career — be a software and tool creator — after making a pivot and spending time as an angel investor. After about three or four weeks of being a full-time investor, he said, he realized “I sorely missed building,” noting that he “felt professionally lost because I wasn’t doing what I love to do most.” However, he learned a lot about advising and building teams during that time before returning to Adobe, and shared the lesson that for leaders, one of the biggest competitive advantages is often “keeping the team together long enough to figure out” a problem. Primary retention can go a long way to winning a productive race.
Meanwhile, Citigroup CFO Mark Mason tells Diane he was “the kid in grade school who carried a Samsonite bag and sold gum and baseball cards at lunch,” and discusses the lessons about pride and work ethic he learned working in his grandfather’s landscaping. And also why communication is so important. “You can’t take sides with one person,” he said, remembering the time he and his manager were laid off. “It has become really important to have more people who know you and what you can do and the contributions you can make to the company.”
They’re all worth watching – whether for Diane’s sharp interviews or the career lessons the CEOs share. For more advice from top leaders, check out her video series here. Have a great week, and special thanks to Associate Editor Amy Lucas for her help with this week’s newsletter.
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News from the world of work
Freelance accounting, anyone? A new report from freelance platform Upwork finds that it’s not just technical skills that are sought after in temporary businesses: some of the most in-demand freelance skills are accounting, lead generation, data entry, customer service, graphic design, ForbesReporting by Amy Lucas.
Successful work with cancer: ForbesDiane Brady interviews Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Saadoun, himself a cancer survivor, about a cross-sector alliance he launched Jan. 17 at the World Economic Forum in Davos titled “Working with Cancer.” The goal: to convince companies to commit to creating a more open and supportive environment for people with cancer – and those who care for them.
MLK Day: Forbes Contributor Kwame Christian discusses the lessons to be learned from Martin Luther King Jr. and how negotiation can lead to positive change. while, Forbes Ariana Johnson has examined the racial wealth gap.
Edelman Confidence Scale: Society is now looking for CEOs to be the leading voice on societal issues, says Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, and the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer came out, which found that people think a business is “the only organization seen as competent.” and ethical.” Forbes Assistant Managing Editor Diane Brady.
Latest hybrid works: A survey of nearly 600 managers in the UK shows that leaders in various industries and companies of different sizes have an increasingly positive view of remote and flexible working. In fact, 73% said they felt that giving employees flexibility during their work hours increased productivity, Forbes Contributor reporting Gleb Tsipursky.
Report on the economic recession: Wells Fargo’s earnings fell 50% last quarter, and JPMorgan is now eyeing a “mild recession” in the fourth quarter. Forbes Jonathan Ponciano writes about what big bank earnings reveal about the economy, which could see more trouble in June if the US Treasury runs out of cash. Elsewhere, Apple CEO Tim Cook has had his pay cut more than 40%.
Define professional clothing: The dress code for a computer programming course at HBCU in North Carolina got more attention than student attire when it was recently circulated on Twitter. The incident shows how “the definition of professional attire varies depending on who you ask and often what it is,” writes contributor Jennifer Maglie.