Time's editor says the magazine selected Pope Francis as its "Person of the Year," because "he placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power."
CEOs are not religious leaders (unless you consider capitalism a matter of faith), but they can take a lesson from the Pope when it comes to thought leadership.
Thought leaders drive the conversation on topics that are within their areas of competence and central to their stakeholders' needs, desires, and aspirations.
For the Pope, that's a wide swath of the human experience. But it's interesting how much is also relevant to business leaders.
- Wealth and poverty determine market growth.
- Fairness and justice are central to everything from business governance to market development.
- Transparency is non-negotiable in an era of social media and customer-created content.
- Modernity and globalization go hand in hand. Sometimes uneasily.
- Gay marriage and women's role in business are the iceberg's tip of family issues affecting a company's ability to attract and keep the best talent.
- The temptations of power have been the motivating factors in some of the worse corporate abuses and crimes of recent years.
Smart business leaders are focusing their message on just those issues. More tomorrow.