Now. Bridge. Reboot. Thought Paper Series

Leading through the chasm and into the future economy

The world has changed. The global COVID-19 crisis created massive short-term challenges and accelerated major long-term transformations. Countries, organizations, and citizens worldwide are simultaneously working to cope with life-and-death challenges and make sense of the new reality that unfolds. The GFCC Now. Bridge. Reboot. Thought Paper Series features original pieces written by business, research, policy, education, and innovation leaders who participate in the GFCC network. The publications provide insightful perspectives on leadership, strategies for the economic rebuild, opportunity areas, and policy design. That is a contribution from the GFCC community to help leaders and organizations make sense of the current global situation.


Looking for the North Star to navigate uncharted waters

Charles O. Holliday Jr.

"With the possible exception of world wars, the COVID-19 pandemic has created the most difficult challenges our leaders have faced in centuries. Never before have we shut down a modern economy,

with disruptions occurring at unprecedented scale and lightning speed, striking countries, companies, communities, and the workforce"

Read the full text here.

The year of reckoning is an opportunity for purposeful leadership

Hiro Nishiguchi

"We will remember 2020 as a year of global reckoning. A reckoning which reflects who we are 

and what civilization entails. In past global pandemics, less affected countries could offer assistance

to more affected ones. During COVID-19, the cooperative formula cannot work. All countries are suffering together"

Read the full text here.

Leadership challenges in the post-COVID-19 era

Simos Anastasopoulos

"The COVID-19 pandemic proved that a different leadership approach is required in order to respond

timely and effectively to new challenges in an uncertain and complex environment.  We saw that delays

in taking the necessary measures to contain the virus resulted in increased death rates across the globe"

Read the full text here.

Automatic control systems can guide leaders through critical times

Saif Al-Hiddabi

The coronavirus pandemic caused unprecedented disturbance to our health and socio-economic systems.

It put us in one of the most challenging situations of our time. Leaders are under enormous pressure.

They have the responsibility to maintain the normal functionality of the organizations (or at least the survival) and to safeguard the livelihoods of employees"


Read the full text here.

COVID-19: How to move from response to sustainability

Jim Metson

"We are living in strange and challenging times. The COVID-19 world looks like a Salvador Dali painting.

Like surrealist art, we may recognize the motifs, but pieces are missing, and the rest no longer fit into ordered patterns"

Read the full text here.

Post-pandemic corporate leadership

William H. Bohnett

"U.S. corporate leadership styles and desirable attributes do not typically change overnight.

Ideal leadership traits would not seem widely different now than 100 years ago — decisiveness,

a driving strategic and operational vision, the ability to inspire, an ethic and practice of hard work,

persistence and a visceral inability to give up"

Read the full text here.

Leadership in a digitized world: How to build a team in a predominantly virtual environment

Eldar Abdrazakov

"The Smartphone Revolution, empowered by the Big Tech companies, continues to drive

changes in consumer behavior and experiences. But business improvements in emerging

markets "

Read the full text here.

Leadership traits to envision and build a better future

Joaquín A. Guerra-Achem

"Leadership is always fundamental for navigating difficult times. The COVID-19

crisis requires great leaders to come forward. The emergency ushered in by

the virus demands complicated decisions that may not be popular"

Read the full text here.

Winning in a new reality

Christos Megalou

"COVID-19 created an unprecedented health emergency that mutated into a significant economic shock. As the economic impact of the crisis evolves, leaders across industries are taking urgent steps to protect employees and build resilience"

Read the full text here.

Bold leadership: Leading your organization in an increasingly digital world

Lori Schmidt

"The world has changed — your world has changed — and the impact has been huge, especially for people in leadership roles. The biggest challenge is that there has never been a similar event during our lifetime — no leading practices, no rule book to follow — and everything is new and shifts from day to day"


Read the full text here.

The future of scientific leadership in an increasingly virtual environment

Peter Gruss & Sabine E. Zimmermann

"In 1989, when Tim Berners-Lee invented a "virtual room for interconnected information"

at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, it seems unlikely that the

notion of an Amazon, Facebook, or Netflix ever crossed his mind. He did not set out to

reinvent global retail, social lives, and entertain meant"


Read the full text here.

Leading means accommodating, not prescribing

Dr. Michinari Hamaguchi

"The COVID-19 crisis has presented leaders with a rare set of challenges, the parameters shifting once again as we begin to see signs of a spreading second wave. In the face of both immediate and long-term threats, leaders must guide the way to a "new normal" that will protect our societies from current and future crises"

Read the full text here.

There's nothing virtual about leadership

Paul Levins

"Eight months ago, who knew we would be telling staff they can work at home "forever"? Many organizations are realizing that office space isn’t critical. That approach doesn’t work for all, and there always be a need for in-person contact”

Read the full text here.

Leading the way through knowledge

Gianna Sagazio

"The impacts of the pandemic were felt all over the world. And the challenges to overcome those impacts presented themselves as a hard test to any leader. As one country after another registered the first cases of COVID-19, it became clear that it would be a matter of time for the pandemic to become a worldwide event”

Read the full text here.

Multivoiced leadership

Colin Grant

"This is the world of superfast contingency— a world of multiple and often instantaneous bifurcations. A world of accelerated uncertainty bundled within uncertainty, bundled within uncertainty. How do we make sense of this experience of compression?"


Read the full text here.


Leadership in a new world

Ashwani Kumar

"A tormented world, shaken out of its comfort by a pandemic whose devastating reach mocks humanity’s collective capacity to prevail, yearns for answers about our common future. Glaring and persisting inequities of the world order, accentuated by the virus and digital divide, foretell the story of a failed leadership and failing realization of the Millennium Development Goals"


Read the full text here.

Collaboration — the “secret sauce” to success in digitalization

Aleksandar Subic

"​The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed during this year many realities of digital transformation, perhaps more profoundly than any other disruption we have experienced to date. We have moved rapidly to remote working modes and remote learning, developed digital health and telehealth solutions, and deployed effectively digital manufacturing and digitally-enabled supply chains"

Read the full text here.

Challenges for Africa’s entrepreneurial leaders in the digital era

Regina Njima

"​Africa is booming with entrepreneurs, from women selling vegetables in a road side shack to youth launching innovative technology startups. According to the African Development Bank, 22 percent of Africa’s working-age population is starting new businesses — the world’s highest entrepreneurship rate."

Read the full text here.


COVID-19: Leadership at the intersection of disruption and change 

Deborah L. Wince-Smith

"In one of COVID-19’s most dramatic effects, in March 2020, offices around the world were shuttered and hundreds of millions of workers transitioned to telework. It was an organizational shift without precedent. For example, in the United States, prior to the pandemic, 21 million wage and salary workers, about15 percent of the U.S. workforce, worked at least one day per week at home"

Read the full text here.

Competing in the Next Economy

Chad Evans

"By many measures, the United States remains one of the world’s most competitive nations—an innovation powerhouse. Nevertheless, the United States today faces different, accelerating and even existential challenges to its global innovation leadership. Factors like a rapidly shifting economy—along with the convergence of new technologies, increases in R&D investment by other nations, and the blurring of the digital and physical worlds..."

Read the full text here.

Leadership: The new normal demands a different gameplay

Ahmad Tajuddin Ali

"It is often said that in times of crisis, true leadership emerges. This unparalleled crisis brought about a new normal that would have taken years to be gradually introduced. We are now forced to assimilate in the shortest of times. Approaching the new normal is similar to the way I approach my golf game.

Read the full text here.

Leadership in COVID-19 times

Alexander Idrisov​

"Leadership during a pandemic is based on three essential requirements: To be smarter and more open, to be faster and more adaptive, and to be more human and kinder. It was important to provide government, business, and citizens with reliable facts about the pandemic and its impact on the economy and society."

Read the full text here.

COVID-19's lesson for leaders

Dylan Jones & Deborah L. Wince-Smith

"Humanity is having an extraordinary shared experience; one of fear, pain, challenge, resolve, and resiliency. But, paradoxically, rather than sharing an important experience or event as we typically do—as a nation or community, gathering with friends and extended family— we are in a state of isolation, behind masks and shields, away from shuttered workplaces, in-home lockdowns, with event restrictions, travel bans, and closed borders".

Read the full text here.

Bureaucrazy: The 4 Jacks Syndrome

Jack Sim

"Humanity is having an extraordinary shared experience; one of fear, pain, challenge, resolve, and resiliency. But, paradoxically, rather than sharing an important experience or event as we typically do—as a nation or community, gathering with friends and extended family— we are in a state of isolation, behind masks and shields, away from shuttered workplaces, in-home lockdowns, with event restrictions, travel bans, and closed borders".

Read the full text here.

Leadership in the post-COVID-19 world

Jan Mládeck

"The COVID-19 crises came as a wake-up call, which reminded everyone of the fragility of human life, the global economy, and our global civilization. On the one hand, in the first half of 2020, we have realized that the permanent expansion of globalization is not granted.."

Read the full text here.

Recovering sustainably from the COVID-19 pandemic

Joan Macnaughton

"We know that life will never be completely the same after COVID-19, which has upended so many of our fundamental assumptions about how we travel, work and play; about what is most important to us; and about the role of government intervention — at a level few of us expected ever to see."

Read the full text here.

Building back better in post-COVID-19 Africa

Kandeh Yumkella

"The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed economies and shifted livelihoods worldwide. While the lasting impact of the pandemic is still unknown, one thing remains clear: The worst impact will be felt by poorer countries with vulnerable populations."

Read the full text here.


Leadership in the time of major transformations

Rashed Abdul Kareem Al Blooshi​

"Two major transformations are happening simultaneously in the world today. One is a transformation posed by nature’s challenges to human health, as we have witnessed in the unprecedented spread of COVID-19. The other is the rapid advances in technology through which the world is becoming increasingly digitalized".

Read the full text here.


Leadership in times of global white swans

Rogerio Studart​

"With more than a million deaths, the pandemic is already a humanitarian crisis comparable to the two major world wars. Its socioeconomic consequences are substantial, with a drop in global output of about 5 percent and an expected cumulative loss of $12 trillion by 2021".

Read the full text here.

Global leadership in the post-COVID-19 era

Tae-Shin Kwon

"I have attended many international conferences around the world, but one particular episode sticks with me. It was at the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam. APEC offers a festive venue organized to reaffirm the values inherent in seeking joint prosperity and collaborative problem-solving in the Asia Pacific region".

Read the full text here.


Biodiversity loss — the need for global political leadership

Zakri Abdul Kareem Al Blooshi

"On 30 September, the United Nations held its first-ever summit dedicated to preserving nature, led

by speakers at the UN’s New York City Headquarters, followed by virtual remarks from well over 100 leaders worldwide".


Read the full text here.

Future, community and new voices: Leadership for a fast-changing world

Roberto Alvarez

"As I write this piece, we continue to navigate the turbulent waters of 2020. It is a time of hardship and uncertainty. The COVID-19 crisis has brought about challenges that we had never faced in our lifetime and calls for leadership. However, this is not an ordinary moment, and neither are the issues at stake."

Read the full text here.