Next week I will make my annual trek to Davos for the World Economic Forum. I will be tweeting during the week and I will post my findings from the event on this blog -- most likely the week after.
I always go to Davos with a simple survey question that I ask everyone I meet with. Last year the question was: "When will the recession end?" The answers ranged widely, but averaged to April, 2010 (in retrospect, too gloomy).
For this year I'm considering: "What is your number one priority for the next two years?" But that feels way too vanilla.
So if you could ask a worldwide group of CEOs, political leaders, artists, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, academics, and media leaders one question, what would it be? I'd love to get your ideas.
In case you didn't see it, check out the excellent interview with Gordon Bethune, ex-CEO of Continental Airlines, in last Sunday's New York Times. I'm not sure why such an apparently high-performing leader would be attracted to the perennially low-performing airline business, but Bethune successfully lead Continental from 1994 to 2004.
For me, Bethune embodies what Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, called "level five leaders" -- CEOs who are self-effacing, quiet but aggressive, always ready to "share the stage" with their employees. These are traits that will be at a premium as companies (particularly financial services firms) re-build trust with their customers, employees, and society at large, post-recession.