#BbWorld16 – The Key to 21st Century Leadership

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Based on Admiral Stavridis’ nearly four decades of military service, he advocates a unique model of “leader as servant.” He believes in the power of people and shares with audiences specific ways to unlock their strength through positive reinforcement and innovative incentive systems. In particular, he helps audiences leverage lessons learned from their own experiences, understand how to identify role models and gain insight into leadership strategies from other cultures—both the positives and negatives.

Speaker: Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) – NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe and 15th Commander of the US European Command (2009-2013)


  • His office was in the Pentagon and only a few offices a way from the 911 attack on the Pentagon.
  • Building of bridges create the most security for the future.
  • Islamic state is terrorism 3.0, they have a way of recruiting and marketing. They are able to raise funds. They have a taste for the barbaric. ISIS has a price list of purchasing females for sex slaves.
  • Islamic state also attacks education. Killing children. This is a highly dangerous group with global reach.
  • North Korea is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. With 15-20 nuclear weapons. Iran as well. Syria has killed 300,000 of it’s own citizens. Russia concerns with President Putin and the invasion of the Ukraine.
  • Heroin and drug concerns in our own state. Ebola and other pandemics.
  • Cyber security is the most worry for us. Online bank robbery, etc.
  • Political gridlock also leads to polarization.
  • Building walls isn’t going to help us deal with these kind of challenges?

19th Century Leaders – Otto von Bismarck, Iron Chancellor from Germany, Top Down, Heavy Handed, Colonization

20th Century Leaders – Roosevelt was the ability to create a political machine and use it to move power. Top down leadership.

21st Century – Messages and ideas move instantly. What does a leader look like? In today’s world we have untraditional leaders “celebrity”, Lady Gaga, Oprah, India Leader, Germany Leader, Bill Gates.

What are the tools in today’s world that can help us become leaders?

  • Education is the #1 tool.
  • Innovation is key. Ability to think about the new. People and soft skills are needed to build relationships and partnerships. There will be hits and misses, like baseball. Look for the black swan or striking change – be ready for the other side.
  • Communication. It goes both ways. The best image is a bridge not a megaphone. Good leaders are like jellyfish they are constantly sensing. The put pen to paper, then present, then align. Social media is a bridge and we need to be in this space.
  • Collaboration. An image of collaboration is typically 8 guys rowing no – real collaboration is about moving and creative and dynamic like a bike riding team that share of drafting for each other. Coalition, ability to move at speed, and rallying behind an objective.
  • Leaders need to look closely of everything that comes across your desk. What are we doing today that in 50 years that will look wrong in 50 years. Look for integrity and character and values. Character is what we do when we think no one is looking.
  • Ask yourself, who are my heros? Could you name 5-6 people that you admire?
  • Speed is a question, how fast do you want to move – but need to maintain stability.
  • Failure is part of leadership and it’s about how you respond and move beyond.
  • Hope for a better place, better life, and a better connection to our world.


“A leader is a dealer in hope not a dealer in fear.” – Napoleon Bonaparte


2 thoughts on “#BbWorld16 – The Key to 21st Century Leadership

  1. I don’t think that Servant Leader is a unique model, at least not in terms of a model that many strive for. It’s mentioned as often as the desire to be a transformational leader. They’re very close in practice and require internal evolution to be authentic and sustaining. I find it interesting how often military leaders are called upon to speak at conferences on the topic of leadership. I don’t doubt their ability to lead, but I would like there to be other representatives that are not tied to war. I have been very fortunate to have had a boss who truly was a Servant Leader – he never used the language, but he was so, none the less. As I studied and learned about all of the ins and outs of leadership and organizations, it was easy to reflect back and recognize that I had the honor of being mentored by a humble Servant Leader – theory in practice.

  2. Pingback: Highlights from #BbWorld16 | eLearning and Emerging Technologies @GVSU

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