Leading Change

Change-ahead– My perspective on a conversation with the CEO of General Motors

The last few weeks was characterised by a period of confusion and general displeasure, I was in an early mid-life crisis. Arguably, I still am. On the one hand, my dream of creating value in the world is as distant as ever, and on the other, I fully recognise the need for some form of change. I was not happy with where I was and desperately searching for answers. There was an article published some time ago about a holocaust survivor who happens to be a very well respected psychiatrist before being captured by the Nazis, his name was Viktor Frankl. Without delving too deep into his story, I was struck by one of his theories on mans’ search for meaning: Some draw happiness from within, others do so by the act of ‘giving’. These people are most satisfied when the other group is happiest, whether it was contributed to directly or indirectly. With reflection I came to the conclusion that I belong firmly in the latter category. I am most satisfied with myself when I contributed something positive to this world; value creation since then has edged closer to the centre of my meaning of life. But, and here is the big but, I am not currently creating any value! Crucially, I am not engaging in any activity which would assist me towards that goal. Something need to change, something must be done.

One day in March, I chanced upon an ad for an event headed by the CEO of General Motors at London School of Economics. First of all I like to add that I am a sucker for the famous. Couple of years ago whilst inter-railing across Europe, which seems like the thing to do at my age, my friends often joked about my feverish appetite for landmarks which boasts ‘world-famous’ in the travelling guide. I would repeatedly lead them through many narrow alleyways in between getting lost, to arrive at a rather plain looking building before happily exclaiming ‘this is it guys! It’s world- famous!’ In hind sight most of them did turn out mediocre, but I took a photo anyway, they must be famous for something! Continue reading