Leadership Lessons from Sibos: Discernment, Connectivity, Proximity

Sibos is an annual conference organized by Swift  for the financial industry. This year’s conference was held in Boston at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). In attendance where over 7,000 decision makers from over 212 countries debating the future of money in particular global finance, crypto-currencies, payments, securities and trade issues.  While much of the conference was geared to financial institutions and multinational corporations, there were messages and lessons discussed that can help all leaders across sectors be better prepared and should be scaled. All leaders will navigate sea-change better by strengthening discernment, building strong networks, and ensuring a more robust toggle between local and global.

KrisLovejoy(photo of Kristin Lovejoy GM, IBM Security Services Division courtesy of JoAnn Healy of Swift)

“People focus on protection when we really need them to focus on detection” says Kristin Lovejoy at the Cyber Security Panel.

Attacks are inevitable and there are significant things that can be done to support “digital hygiene.” Many individuals may feel that protecting themselves against cyber crime is a loosing battle or that the elephant is too big to eat. That may lend itself to learned helplessness or a sense that these are “not my issues.” Lovejoy believes cyber war is an issue that impacts governments, organizations and individuals and the onus is on everyone to help in this battle. Citing a hand washing study done at the University of Colorado which reported that hand washing as a habit increased student vitality and reduced absenteeism, Lovejoy believes that there are similar habits regarding digital care that increase security. Simple examples include ensuring every device has a security code that changes frequently and enabling two step authentication.  Everyone has a role to have good habits in protecting personal systems at the micro and corporate systems at the macro. Along with these habits is the skill to detect. Sense and gut feel increasingly have a role to play as fundamental core competencies. When asked the mission critical business skill she seeks to hire, without hesitation the answer “discernment.” She continues, “we talk a lot about intellect and at the end of the day it is discernment that makes the biggest difference on my team.

Swift has an internal innovation lab called Innotribe, which is a group of individuals who travel globally to collect innovative thinkers to bring to Sibos to help bridge the gap between protection and innovation. Two speakers in particular made it very clear that competitive advantage today requires individuals build robust relationships across business sectors. Peter Hinssen,“if you understand networks, you will understand the future.” Things are more relational and less hierarchical. There is too much to know and individuals can no longer be single point sources. Those who will have the best sense of reality are those who live and foster relationships in robust networks. So many people like to be with individuals that are similar in lifestyle and expression. Yet, navigating complexity requires people to be more interested in what they have to learn from one another than what it is that they have in common. Similarly Ann Badillo urges that rather than think of a network as a community, think of it “as a rainforest.” She says,“we need to go beyond building networks to building eco-systems.” This requires a much more robust inclusive design around friends, clients, customers, shareholders.


Sustainable innovation and entrepreneurial growth come from ecosystems, not mere assets. Ecosystems are environments designed from the bottom-up to foster serendipitous interactions. The ecosystems are nurtured by several key cultural traits: connectivity, diversity of ideas and talents, deep levels of trust, motivations that rise above short-term zero-sum calculation, and cultural norms that encourage dreaming, risk-taking, and paying it forward.

Penny Hembrow, VP of Global Banking at CGI Group, Inc. was an exhibitor at Sibos. When asked about today’s competitive advantage and navigating complexity, she gave a large smile and let out a sigh, “At the end of the day we must never forget that consulting at its best no matter what you do is about problem solving.”  One of the biggest challenges we have right now is how to be globally minded yet serve our local communities. We have to toggle all the time between global and local. We might have large global networks, but at the end of the day most transactions are really made in person face to face. Even though it might be difficult, one has to find a way to have one foot planted in the macro and one planted in office in the life of the person you are serving. Hembrow refers to this as “the art of proximity – bringing global relevance at a macro level to the front door of the person you are serving.”

Regardless of changes in technology and changes in the economy, navigating change comes down to discipline and choice. We must not be lazy and keep good hygiene for whatever craft we are in. We must not only sharpen our intellect but also sharpen our wisdom. We must invest in nurturing and fostering a cross section of relationships across the business ecosystem. And we must never forget no matter how vast our global community intimacy still is our golden lever.

Onward in the sea-change . . .


Columbus Day & the Voyage of Human Progress


Columbus Day in the US is a celebration of Christopher Columbus. As an existential philosopher I think this a wonderful opportunity to #pause and celebrate globalization and human progress at large.

1) I have many friends who live between airports, hotels and the internet so I begin with

Ode to A Traveler:

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

John O’Donohue

2) I have a commitment to take my family on a trip once a year to a new country. Besides a book, travel is the next most mind expansive tool. Just in case you’d like some ideas New York Times is a great resource for bucket list design. Here are 52 suggested places to visit.

3) Ideas do not care about passports. They land where individuals have quiet time and environments rich in collaboration. If you want to get the innovation virus perhaps these countries are when you want to visit. Here are the top 10 most innovative countries.

4) In addition to where to travel it is important to address the mindset of the traveler. Articulate Alexandra Levit reminds us to see the world as a stage and gives us a nudge to expand our global mindset and fine-tune our global competence:

“If you’re employed by a decent-size company, ask to spend a few days in a foreign office, or for an assignment that involves close business dealings with other countries. Read foreign newspapers to gain insights into the daily goings-on of a particular country. Hop onto Skype and interview international colleagues to learn how your industry operates abroad.”

5) Complexity in the macro, requires simplicity in the micro. To navigate such significant shifts in how we work and where we work, it is more important than ever to hold onto your core. I find Gianpiero Petriglieri poignant as he urges the importance of moving around without loosing your roots.

6) Ensuring your person relevance in the rough water of macro change it is vital that you keep your pulse on the Capernican revolution in management as Steve Denning @stevedenning :

“Just as the Copernican Revolution in astronomy helped put in question social arrangements in which kings and priests and their retinues were in charge of society by Divine Right, so the Copernican Revolution in management is putting in question the social arrangements of the large bureaucracies that currently rule modern society. In the emerging organization, there is little need for “bosses” and “administrators of the status quo” and “paper shufflers”, along with a pressing need for managers who can inspire self-organizing teams, networks and ecosystems to respond to the shifting needs of customers.”

7) The world is becoming more and more “multi=polar” which means there are significant changes in both emerging market landscape and the workforce at large.Accenture has the most robust report on how this changes organizations. The Lisbon Council has given us a treasure trove of how these emerging market shifts changes the labor force.

8) Now it seems the blue ocean that we are swimming consists of droplets of 1’s and 0’s as data artists take the stage. As an example Aaron Koblin suggests:

“Numbers can humanize us. You can use data to discover the patterns we make as a collective whole, so that we can better understand society and ourselves.”

9) In this era of big data I am reminded of the wisdom of Alfred Korzybski and his profound statement: the map is not the territory. There are limits to big data asMichael Schrage has great faith that human begins are still the killer app “the more data and facts one has, and the more predictions matter, the more important human judgment becomes.”

10) Heinz Pagals says, “science has explored the microcosmos and the macrocosmos; we have a good sense of the lay of the land. The great unexplored frontier is complexity.” So I shall close my Columbus Day celebration in anticipation of our next frontier: Chaos, Complexity & Entropy.

I wish you safe travels in mind, body and spirit.

♫ Listening to Edward Sharpe – Home


A New Season ~ Personal Recalibration


Many times you have seen me use Sunday as a day for #‎recalibration and often the image I share is shattered glass as I add the quote: The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become~Charles DuBois

Yet this morning as I awake to a new season and see my yard populated with golden yellow and red leaves, I feel a sense of a gentle whisper inviting a new threshold as the seductive gates of the image above.

Perhaps change and recalibration are not as much about disruption as they are about opening a gate of possibility and actually walking through. Maybe choices don’t have to feel like breaking glass. Perhaps choices can be gentle. Oh, I wish I could find the words as I am feeling such comfort and calm about having very recently walked through this gate.

Our friction-free world is full of options. We can download our world according to our bias and preference. We talk so much about options but rarely talk about discernment. I don’t write so much to teach others but to reinforce for myself what I need to learn and especially practice.

With this new season, please be fierce in your resolve to ensure you are fine tuning your decision making criteria as you continue to expand personal and professional thresholds.

These links are keys to gates of impact I hope to open in my lifetime:

1) #whisper : Daniel Dennett’s Seven Tools for Thinking

2) #whisper: Tim Rayner @TimRayner01‘s Sage Wisdom for Contemporary Time

3) #whisper: Dr. Amit Nagpal @DrAmitInspires‘ Blue Ocean Strategy for Your Own Person Brand

4) #whisper: Jose Baldadaia @jabaldaia‘s Replace GPS w/ a Compass

5) #whisper: Saybrook University @SaybrookU’Map of Meaning

6) #whisper: Tony Schwartz‘ The Art of Letting Go

7) #whisper: Eric Best‘s Four Principles to Guide A Life

8) #whisper: Peter Vander Auwera @PeterVan‘s The End of Leadership

9) #whisper: Jim Collins‘s The Triump of Humility and Fierce Resolve

10) #whisper: My point of view for The Age of Essence


This is how leaves sound as they gently fall . . .♫

May a golden leaf gently brush your cheek and welcome you to Autumn.


Contextual Intelligence & The Future of Work


Your competitive advantage is not where you work or what you do.

Your competitive advantage is the accuracy in which you scan the macro environment and the way you interpret and articulate those observations.

Labor Day is a moment to pause and acknowledge all the the hard work that has built our nation and a celebration of economic vitality.

The best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing ~ President Theodore Roosevelt

I feel very lucky to have found my vocation ins building bridges between strategic intent and personal development. There has never been a better time than right now to integrate strategy, leadership and soul.

I often say, “you will know me by my links.” Here are my favorite to provide contextual intelligence for #TheFutureofWork.

Scanning the macro,

1) Perhaps the most important attribute we can take into the future is resilience. Andrew Zolli offers a framework that can be used both for life at home and at work:If You Want to Build Resilience, Kill the Complexity.

2) Many talk about the importance of learning and reading to stay current and sharp. Yet, I often look at people’s schedules and rarely have they built in time for processing information. How are we going to get better, stronger, smarter without built in capacity for learning? My friend Cameron Norman aka @cdnorman keeps us honest by asking How Serious Are We About Learning?

3) Our environment has much more impact on us than we’d like to accept. It is very important that you choose an environment where you own natural tendencies can thrive. John Hagel @jhagel from Deloitte is in the thick of corporate culture. Tracking and following the Shift Index is an important part of your staying current.

4) Data can be beautiful and informative. The Institute for the Future @iftf has created an elegant framework for leadership development. They don’t call it leadership development, but I do. It is time that each employee assume they are leaders and also that they are in charge of their own person development. “Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills we will need to be productive contributors in the future.”

5) We cannot have work without an economy. It is a slippery slope when discussions of the economy often lead to politics. I am on the line here and this is as far as I’ll go. Bravely I want to make sure you are aware of Jeremy Rifkin@JeremyRifkin. His latest work is about zero marginal cost and how the collaborative economy is taking capitalism on. Our ability to compete is our ability to know the landscape. Rifkin is creating ripples that make take years for effect; however, important that you are in this conversation: The Fall of Capitalism and the Internet of Things.

6) By 2025, over 75% of the workforce will be comprised of millennials, a group many refer to as the Facebook generation. This group is much more dynamic than employee pools of the past. Because of lifestyle choices and the need for mobility, the employment group is much more likely to select projects to ensure elements of freedom: 8 Reasons Why Your Next Job Will Be A Project.

7) And if this freelance thing is not your cup o’ tea, I suggest you drink it longer to acquire the taste: The Freelance Surge is the Industrial Revolution of our Time.



Given we are moving more and more toward freelance economy, it is even more important that we have self knowledge in what we care about, how we create value, and who we want to work with. I love this modern twist on Jim Collin’s Hedge Hog.

8) Skill trumps distance. With the amazing file share and video technology people can truly be global. Perhaps the most significant trend is the rise of the multinational employee: The Rise of Micro-Multinantional.

9) Because the smartest person in the room is the room, it is important that your curate and cultivate great relationships with individuals who you learn and grow with by design. Global collaboration is catching wildfire: The Future of Talent Lies In Clusters.

10) Einstein tells us, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” There is one source, however, that I cannot keep a secret. Friend Ross Dawson@rossdawson is a visual architect that has given us the future of work in an icon that can teach, inform, frighten and inspire. YES, it really has this many dynamic parts.

Thanks for coming this far. You indeed will be rewarded.






 The Bangles – Manic Monday 




An Existential View of Influence


The Script – Hall of Fame ft. Will.i.am.

With the latest Facebook scandal, I am even more urgent about our use of neuroscience for leadership – not just sales. Deeply concerned that we need to strengthen our internal resolve in the midst of all the analytics & marketing. I hope this curation of #influence contributes to your longview imprint. Afterall, every “like” and every RT is autobiographical.
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An Existential View of Father’s Day

Dear friends & colleagues,

Happy Father’s Day

So much about personal congruence and alignment comes from being and belonging. There is a way a father loves that is critical for this alignment to occur. I have written very publicly that I was estranged from my own father. I was very angry with him when he died in a car accident when he was only 44 years old. It has taken much therapy, prayer and grace for me to forgive myself as in some grandiose way I had felt that perhaps my anger had killed him.
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