Beyond the pandemic: what will leadership look like?

Traditional models of leadership, change and transformation assume that our problem solving, innovation and lateral thinking capabilities have evolved in step with advances in technology and other signs of civilisation. The pandemic has exposed this assumption.

Chair of Global Alliance in Management Education (CEMS) and The University of Sydney Business School Dean, Professor Greg Whitwell, said, “The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally disrupted ‘business as usual’ for many organisations. However, it has also presented an opportunity to reassess the qualities we value most.”1

Research clearly states that new leadership models and pathway are required. Integral elements of the new leadership model include divergent thinking, diverse mindsets, responsive and inclusive action. In short, a future-fit leader needs to lead with courage, freedom and inclusion to enable the collective energy of their cohorts, teams and organisations.

According to a recent MIT Sloan Review article, “To navigate ambiguity successfully, companies must remember to anchor their processes on the constraints of the solution rather than the clarity of the problem.”2 From this perspective, the pandemic demands divergent thinking, creative and collaborative leadership. The post pandemic world needs resilient leaders to show boundless ingenuity, compassion with urgency. 

We will guide First 100 participants to shift perspectives, innovate, challenge standard approaches, unpack assumptions and focus on what truly matters in a supportive, high collaborative environment – it is clear that this is essential.

Executive Director of CEMS, Roland Siegers, notes: “In the past, the traditional, leader-centred approach has been something concrete – a collection of skills that can be taught and learned. However research backs up the idea that in fact, fluid human skills such as resilience, empathy, communication and cultural intelligence are key to making sure that global teams thrive during times of disruption.”3

First 100 is an invitation to join us in creating a movement – a movement that will be sustained and powered by future-fit leaders who are skilled to innovate while ensuring impact and inclusivity. Join us.

  1. From The University of Sydney (2020), “Resilience and empathy vital for leaders post-COVID: global survey” accessed 20/02/21, <
  2. J. Cromwell and B. Kotelly, “A Framework for Innovation in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond”, MIT Sloan Management Review 2021, accessed <date> <>
  3. From The University of Sydney (2020), “Resilience and empathy vital for leaders post-COVID: global survey” accessed 20/02/21, <