If You Could Ask World Leaders at Davos One Question, What Would It Be?

Wef_logo (1) 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.

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An ex-CEO's inspiring thoughts

Gordon bethune 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.

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