Tuesday, October 6, 2009

World Business Forum: Starting with a Bang

It’s lunch time right now at the 6th Annual World Business Forum. Titans of industry are dining. Some internalizing the morning talks; others right back to the pre-Forum grind. There are a number of highlights from this morning’s session – which we’ll write about in forthcoming entries – but first, context.

The Forum opened with a bang. After the lights dimmed in the main hall of Radio City Music Hall, a booming Hollywood-style short dramatically shot up on screen. The film ranged from alarming to uplifting. It began with a stark image of space to a doomsday score. A slathering of headlines from one year ago filled the screen. The clippings morphed quickly into a large ball, a planet, then froze for an instant. The music too. Nothing. Then, just as dramatically, hope filled the auditorium with a charge of instrumentals and images of great leaders espousing the timeless values of leadership, decision-making, the long-term view. As the music crescendo-ed, so too did the wisdom and stature of the leaders. It ended simply and directly with a narrator's voice, “We want (you) to start growing again.”

The message at this year’s World Business Forum is clear: The storm is over. As we get up, dust ourselves off, and look around, there’s devastation. But there’s also opportunity… opportunity to learn, move on, and apply. The possibility that it may be harder to do than surviving the storm itself is real, but it does not minimize the magnitude or value of that opportunity. Perhaps it makes meeting the challenge that much sweeter.

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