Building Bridges Across Cultures II- Leadership in Post Covid World

Bloggers Alliance
7 min readMar 13, 2021


Building Bridges Across Cultures is a Monthly series where two perspectives from West and East shall be shared by Jennifer Sertl, USA and Dr Amit Nagpal, India.

What skills are required for leadership in post Covid world with special reference to diversity & inclusion, technology and globalisation?

Anuj Kapoor, Podcaster, India

Jennifer Sertl’s opinion

Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco California)

(Thanks to CHUTTERSNAP for making this photo available freely on unsplash)

Because the question was so expansive I thought an aerial view of Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco California) was best.

With a 10,000 foot view of the question, I see one simple question:

How can I make better decisions in the midst of so much complexity?

This question I have spent the past twenty-five years answering and here is what I know so far:

Your competitive advantage is the accuracy in which you scan your environment and how you make decisions.

Work to strengthen characteristics that will enable your resilience no matter what is happening with technology, what is happening with the economy, what is happening geopolitically. There is so much to say here, but we grow iteratively. We take in a little bit of information and gradually integrate it into our behavior. So I will give you what I believe are the most fundamental leadership characteristics to make better decisions and lead your family, your team, your community in a way that helps them be better prepared for unpredictability. Each of these could be a stand alone conversation, but i will do my best to establish the framework for the top 10 skills I am current practicing.

Invest in your learning velocity: Today you need IQ and EQ and DG (intellect, emotional intelligence and digital competence). As you are designing your learning plan, have a dedicated strategy for each of these capabilities.

Invest in your peer to peer community: We are limited by who we think we can learn from. If you hang around with people that have your same life experience, you are going to gain little insight. If you expand who you value and who you can learn from, the entire world opens up. It is my hope that you are participating in your local community and hope that you also belong to a couple of global communities. LinkedIn and Facebook offer you the chance to create relationships all over the world. The more diverse your peer community is, the more inclusive you will be. Expansion increases tolerance. Tolerance increases capability.

Invest in participation: Engagement is the only way to grow. Being on a roster does nothing to increase your capability. Look at your long view and consider how you want others to describe you. Practice everywhere.

Invest in governance: Too many people are looking for platform participation but not defining rules of engagement. What makes a person belong or not belong? What are the rules of participation? How do we hold others accountable for not honoring our rules of participation? Governance is the rub that too few people invest in and it injures the brilliance that can be leveraged in the collective intelligence of the group you are participating in.

Invest in cognition: Ensure that you are getting information from various data points including crowdsourced information and artificial intelligence. Know all of the types of cognitive bias and continually work to address your own bias, bias in your culture, community and embedded bias in algorithms.

(Buster Benson has the best list of cognitive bias You are bias. I am bias. I am working to learn where I am unconscious of my bias and how that blind spot is impacting really good decision-making.

Invest in your spirit: You are not a cog in a wheel. You are a human being that has value simply by existence. Build in time for journal writing, meditation, yoga, walks in nature and stillness. It is presence that impacts our insight and our eyesight. We cannot be present if we do not value our own essence.

Invest in youth and also elders: Children are adopting skill sets we can learn from. As we are working to manage cognitive overload, they have different filters and capabilities. There is a transfer of information from generation to generation and honoring and leveraging that transfer increases adaptability for all involved.

Invest in sharing information: The paradigm has shifted. David Weinberger used the phrase Too Big To Know and that phrase has stuck with me. In order to have the most accurate scan of the macro, we need as many data points as possible to ensure we have enough perspective. Your perspective matters. You hold a piece of the puzzle. We are all scouts working to navigate complexity. This requires full participation and dissemination of information. Share what you know. Seek to know more.

Invest in questions: We tend to see what we look for. If our goal is expansion and more resilience, we need to ask better questions. Our word increases and expands relative to the questions we ask particularly ourselves.

Invest in awe: Knowledge is not the goal. Being inspired is what life is all about. If I live a life inspired there is no way I will create silos, ostracize others, limit others capability. A person cannot expand without expanding their sense of being part of a whole. Our appreciation of art, beauty, music, nature are essential for a sense of belonging in the world.

There are unknown complexities headed our way. I believe practicing these fundamentals will allow you more agility so that you will have even greater responsiveness, resilience and capacity to reflect.

You will transcend challenges no matter the context.

Love and light,
Jennifer Sertl

Dr Amit Nagpal’s Opinion

Chenab Bridge, India

5 Leadership Skills for Post- Covid World

As Sundar Pichai shared last year that due to Corona, the digital transformation which would have happened in three years has happened in three months. Earlier disruption was limited to the technology sector, but now it is disruption everywhere and technology everywhere as well.

Here are the 5 skills which the managers need in today’s disruptive times:-

1 Data Storytelling

  • Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter
  • Becoming memorable (mindshare) becomes more and more challenging.
  • Large volumes of data and complex visuals are difficult for an average manager to understand.

While business storytelling is a skill which has caught the attention of the corporate world, Data storytelling is going to be the next buzzword.

People trust the data. But people remember the story. Data storytelling helps the leaders resolve this paradox. Often the corporate presentations are packed with data and story gets lost in the numbers. When your #data tells a story, it also democratises the data. Not just the experts, but everyone can understand it.

Leaders need to identify patterns in the data and understand the story they are telling. Data Storytelling also makes it easier to connect the dots :-
a) by showing the “Bigger Picture”
b) Making it easier to draw #Insights from #Data

2 Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Increase in uncertainties and ambiguities have made “Being Comfortable with the uncomfortable” an important skill. Here are some related points to remember:-

- Tech gets into every domain and tech means disruption.

- Tech means staying updated becomes a compulsion.

Change management esp technological change management has become a critical leadership skill. A recent PwC survey has pointed out that pandemic has accelerated digital upskilling but key groups still miss out.

3 Managing Experiences

Poaching and hunting will get harder- be it for talent or loyal customers. Customer retention and employee retention will provide stability to organisations in the VUCA world.

Be it customer or employee satisfaction, it’s all about managing the experience. To manage the experience you need a bird’s eye view or the overall picture. All the touchpoints need to provide a good seamless experience to both employees and customers.

Story listening is the new critical skill for managers as customer experiences and employee experiences are shared as stories which need to be listened to. And preferable first hand.

4 Learning Agility

The new mantra for leaders is;

“Learn, Learn, Learn, till the brain begins to swim.

Learn, learn, learn till the eyes are heavy and dim”

(Adapted from the poem ‘Song of the Shirt’ by Thomas Hood)

Continuous learning is not only critical for leaders but leaders also need to ensure that their team members are also learning continuously. Leaders also need to identify and prioritise what the team members need to be trained on first. Is it AI or machine learning, is it Twitter or social media analytics, is it gaming or experience management ?

5 Integration and Holistic View

Be it learning or managing experiences or weaving data into stories, all these skills require the competencies for integration and taking a bird’s ey view of things.

Thirukumaran R, Employer Branding Lead at Ericsson pointed out recently in a Twitter chat, “Unifying the consumer brand and employer brand is going to be a trend in near future”. It is a good example of an area where integration will be needed in future. The leaders also need to be able to connect the dots to draw insights from data.

Putting the pieces in the jigsaw at their respective places holds the key to success for leaders of tomorrow. So, dear leader. Keep learning these new age leadership skills and you are ready to Get, Set, Go.


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Dr Amit Nagpal is a Business Storyteller and Lifelong Educator. He is also President and Chief Community Builder at Bloggers Alliance.



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