It’s Leadership, Stupid

The question I’m asked the most by corporate clients and many of the keynote speakers we work with is “what are you being asked about at the moment”. 

Answering this isn’t as easy as it sounds. We book nearly 3,000 speakers every year and deal with over 10,000 enquiries over the same time as a result. Data isn’t that easy to collate and often clients come to us not knowing exactly what they want. The changing nature of our world – and what’s important to the business community as a result – is what keeps our job interesting. Conversely, it means that our research team ends up taking tangents and we can be susceptible to short term fads.

It’s true that any good speaker bureau should be nimble and fleet of foot in relation to the news cycle, find new voices in emerging areas like science and innovation, be the first to announce a partnership with a recently departed (but not wholly discredited) head of government, and make an effort to improve the diversity of the speakers they suggest in the wake of George Floyd and the revolution in DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion).

And yet, in answer to the initial question, “what are we being asked about”, in the years where everyone wanted to book an economist, then it was sustainability and more recently it’s been diversity and inclusion; amidst the ever changing news cycle and the chaos, an evergreen topic that continues to interest every type of corporate client is….leadership.

I recently analysed the last 400 enquiries from our clients, taking key words from the briefs we receive, and to my surprise, leadership is currently the most requested topic by our corporate clients. How to lead in a world with decreased geo-political security after almost 3 years of pandemic disruption, where there has never been as much divergence in the values and circumstances of those at the top of an organisation with the graduate intake. I guess it’s not surprising that leadership is the answer to the question posed in the title of this post.

Here are three of my favourite leadership speakers

Kate Richardson-Walsh

Kate is one of the best sporting speakers on the circuit. Incredibly inspiring, but crucially, she makes the sporting analogies super relevant to business. From a leadership perspective, Kate talks a lot about instilling shared behaviours within a team and the transformative effect it can have. Rather than nebulous corporate values, behaviours are easier to define, and team members can call it out when they aren’t being adhered to.

View Kate Richardson-Walsh‘s speaker profile.

Kevin Fong

Kevin is one of the most inspirational speakers I’ve heard in all my time at JLA. He’s an emergency medicine doctor and a space scientist and he’s able to look at the way doctors and astronauts lead their teams – how do they manage and assess risk and develop culture and purpose in the teams they manage. It’s so good – Kevin is on the front line working in A+E, so it all feels quite current, and he’s just a brilliant communicator. If you have a spare half hour, THIS is his Desert Islands Discs.

View Kevin Fong‘s speaker profile.

Tim Campbell

Finally and with more of a business background, we’ve been working with Tim since 2006. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet – totally genuine and down to earth, but seriously smart, business focused and a proper modern business leader with shed loads of empathy – it’s all about creating the right dynamics in the team around you, encouraging diversity of thought, fast failure and innovation. We’ve had more than the odd dodgy Apprentice candidate knocking on JLA’s door over the years, but Tim is the real deal and it’s brilliant to see him doing so well.

View Tim Campbell‘s speaker profile here.

If you’d like to enquire about any of the names above, or would like some more examples please contact your JLA Account Manager.

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