World Economic Forum and Young Global Leaders

I am blown away.

On March 6th 2012 the World Economic Forum announced that I would be named one of their Young Global Leaders. The YGLs selected by a committee chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and the 192 Young Global Leaders comprise respected international leaders from business, government and media.

Past YGLs from the USA include: George Hu, COO,; Andrew R. Sorkin, Columnist, The New York Times; Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO, Facebook Inc; Larry Page, Co-Founder & CEO, Google; Esther Duflo, Professor of Economics, MIT; Jimmy Wales, Founder & Trustee, Wikimedia Foundation, as well as others from around the world, including David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“The world has seen the biggest recession in almost a century and we now face daunting global challenges,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder & Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “I am particularly proud of this year’s honourees, who I believe will address the challenges we face in a meaningful way through fresh thinking and true multi-stakeholder engagement.”

As part of being invited to join the YGLs, I was asked the following three questions. My answers, originally on video, were as follows:

What are the characteristics of the next generation of leaders?

In the world today, we need leaders who can create a platform for people to do the very best work of their careers and of their lives. Leadership is about enabling others to operate at their highest point of contribution. Leaders must be able to create intelligent teams around them to be able to take on the toughest problems in the world.

What are the challenges and opportunities of this generation?

Every thinking person can look around the world and see that talent is equally distributed but unequally utilized. This means that intelligent, capable people in certain places are far less enabled to contribute the things they have to offer to the real challenges that we’re faced with. So, I think that this is both THE challenge and also THE opportunity of our generation – to enable people to give all that they have to offer in solving the most complex problems we face globally. In one movement, you solve two problems and give us a much brighter future.

What do you hope to give and get from the YGL Community?

I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the YGL Community. I feel like I am the least qualified to be in the group but, if there’s anything I can contribute it will be what I’ve learned in the last 15 years of studying human systems, leadership, collective intelligence and design. I’ve been trying to understand how you can draw out the very best from a group of people or a whole organization and see how intelligent you can make it. How much of people’s brilliance you can bring out to achieve something notable, something game changing? If anything I’ve learned is useful to this community, I offer it freely and fully, as I feel so honored to be part of this group.

What I hope to gain is the association of exceptional people from all these different disciplines. I’m looking forward to learning from them. They are all driven, all passionate in their own fields. I think together we can be more than a network, more than even a community. We just may be able to create a force for good in the world.

Photo Credit: © World Economic Forum / Photos by R. Steinegger, N. Behring, A. Mettler

13 thoughts on “World Economic Forum and Young Global Leaders

  1. Michael McCabe says:

    Greg – congratulations on this tremendous honor. You should be very proud of this accomplishment. I look forward to seeing more of you achievements in the future.

    All the best…

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  3. Peter says:

    Greg – great honor; Congrats. I found you through your kind salute to Stephen on HBR. Thanks for taking the time to do so.

    Im intrigued by your quote on this page of, “Leadership is about enabling others to operate at their highest point of contribution.”

    That’s a great perspective. Tell me more.


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