mww group, public relations

October 11, 2010 12:00 ET

Panelists at MWW Group World Business Forum Event Offer Prescription for Sustaining Leadership in Challenging Times

Lack of Trust and Democratization of Leadership Identified by Panel as Leadership Game Changers; Survey of 130 Business Leaders Underscores Panel Comments, Declares Leaders Are Born, Not Made

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 11, 2010) -

MWW Group/World Business Forum Discussion Highlights

  • Sustainable Leadership Defined: the ability to preserve leadership through all economic and business cycles
  • Issues influencing Leadership Today
    • Lack of Trust
    • Democratization of Leadership -- the power is with those who follow
  • Trust is the Prescription for Sustainable Leadership. Build trust by:
    • Creating a personal connection... this was something we heard about all day at the World Business Forum... not just at our panel
    • Walking the talk... well done is more important than well said
    • Having a leader -- usually the CEO -- who is the keeper of the flame

Trustworthy leaders are authentic, connect on an emotional level and articulate a hopeful, aspirational vision

MWW Group/World Business Forum Survey

  • MWW Group conducted a survey of more than 130 top global business executives attending WBF. Findings from the survey include:
    • Speed of Information was cited as the biggest game changer for leaders today, according to one third of the respondents, closely followed by the economy (26 percent).
      • However, 11 percent believe that leadership has not changed.
    • "Leaders are Born, Not Made" -- most believe that leaders are born not made (68 percent). Conversely, the panelists were split as to whether leadership can be a learned skill versus solely an innate ability.
    • However, one in four believes that "Leadership has been Democratized" and that the power lies with those who follow. Only six percent of respondents place the power of leadership within the position -- automatically conferred upon assuming a role.
    • Innovation and Nimbleness in Leaders are Valued More than Character, Salesmanship or the Ability to Build Consensus -- two thirds of respondents selected either innovation, or being nimble and anticipatory as the single greatest quality for future leaders, ahead of traditional leadership traits such as character, salesmanship and consensus building.
    • "Visionary vs. Execution -- a Toss Up" -- by a thin margin, respondents voted that a great leader should be visionary (55.6%) vs. decisive or action-oriented (44.4%).

Event Facts

  • MWW Group partnered with the World Business Forum (WBF) to host a VIP luncheon with a panel of global thought leaders and business executives who discussed the topic of sustainable leadership in rapidly changing times.
    • Panelists included Former White House Advisor David Gergen, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited CEO Jim Quigley and ING DIRECT USA Chairman and President Arkadi Kuhlmann.
    • This is the first time a public relations firm has participated in the World Business Forum as a sponsor.
  • Michael W. Kempner, president and CEO of MWW Group, led the conversation on what it means to be a sustainable leader in rapidly changing times.
  • The panel discussion was streamed live via Ustream and viewable at, offering a candid and unfiltered view of the panelists' thoughts on sustainability and leadership.
  • The WBF is the leading international symposium for the business community attended annually by more than 4,000 top executives from across the world.

Michael W. Kempner, President and CEO of MWW Group
"A leader has many jobs and one of those is to be the keeper of the brand's reputation. How a CEO is viewed internally and externally and the reputation of a company cannot be separated." 

"Leadership is not just about transparency, it is more about trust. In this economy and times of doubt, those companies, those brands, those leaders that can re-establish trust will be the winners on a going-forward basis."

Jim Quigley, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
"Sustainable leadership is leadership that works through the entire business cycle. It's an approach to leadership that is effective during a downturn when you're trying to reset a cost structure and it's effective during sustainable expansion, when you're trying to capture share. It is also effective to stimulate innovation to allow you to continue to reinvent the enterprise and to provide room for new ideas."

"For people to follow you, you have to make a connection. Social media can help."

"Take care of your people, and take care of your brand, and growth will take care of itself."

Arkadi Kuhlmann, Chairman and President of ING DIRECT USA
"To be a leader you need to eliminate doubt. And to eliminate doubt you need to be authentic, you need to galvanize emotion and move forward and you need to have a vision that people can aspire to."

"If you're going to be an effective leader, you need to develop trust. You can't survive very long unless the values and the programs and vision that you have constantly resonate with the people that you are working with."

"The way out of this (economic crisis) is for leaders to step forward."

"Our customers vote every day, with their wallets."

David Gergen, Former White House Advisor and Editor-at-Large, U.S. News and World Report
"A reputation for excellence matters. That excellence is about trust and it is also about a continuous refreshing of your organization so that you're innovative and entrepreneurial and so that people know that you are going to keep moving ahead. It's too easy in this world to be seen as yesterday and an effective leader needs to continually adapt to new conditions."

"We have a crisis of leadership today. Business has failed. Governments have failed. People don't know who to trust."

About MWW Group

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About MWW Group
MWW Group is one of the nation's top ten public relations agencies and is known for its results-driven approach to public relations and "Aim High. Deliver" commitment to client service. For four years in a row, MWW Group was honored with the #1 ranking in the Holmes Report agency client satisfaction survey. MWW Group achieved top rankings in the categories of account leadership, strength of account team, creativity, strategy and planning, and program execution. In 2008, MWW Group was named PR Agency of the Year by The American Business Awards and Mid-size PR Firm of the Year by PR News, in recognition of the firm's growth, strategic account leadership and industry-leading employee retention. MWW Group is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG).

About the World Business Forum
The World Business Forum, organized by HSM Global, is the leading international symposium for the business community. Held at the historic Radio City Music Hall ®, the 2010 World Business Forum will take place on October 5-6, 2010 and host an audience of over 4,000 top executives from around the world. Founded in 1989, HSM ( is a multimedia company specializing in management and leadership education. HSM brings together the world's top executives and thought leaders to analyze and debate the latest and most pressing issues in business, science, technology, and the economy. Through conferences such as the World Business Forum and the World Innovation Forum, print, broadcast and online media, HSM generates new ideas and fresh thinking about the challenges facing business leaders today. HSM believes that knowledge is the critical driver for change and development.

Contact Information

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    MWW Group:
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