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The Leadership Conversation series

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Ever wonder what makes a good leader in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world? Join us for reflections from 15 Deloitte leaders who are embarking on a journey to discuss leadership philosophy, challenges, and trends. Together, they will share a compelling and multifaceted story of what it means to be a strong leader today.

As we kick off the first conversation on leadership foundations, take a sneak-peak of what these leaders have to say. Then, read the full posts and join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn with #LCS.

Conversation 1: Leadership foundations

Why are you so optimistic?

So…I guess that’s why I am an optimistic leader. There are so many examples of under-the-radar leadership around us every day—leadership that reminds me why I remain hopeful in humanity. Over the next few months, some Deloitte colleagues will share more posts like this in a series we’re dubbing as Deloitte’s Leadership Conversation Series (#LCS). As you read our posts, I hope you’ll see that leadership doesn’t look just one way or have one voice. Take a read of the different stories and acts of leadership we share—and don’t be surprised if you catch yourself feeling a bit more optimistic afterward too.

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Dan Helfrich
Federal Government Services leader

Changing leadership expectations

Possessing inherit traits such as ambition and emotional intelligence help people become leaders faster than their peers. There are also universal capabilities that leaders should develop over time through experience, education, or exposure. Influencing others, having sound business judgment, and being able to collaborate are skills that improve with repeated practice, experimentation, and reflection.

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Stacey Philpot
Human Capital principal

A personal reflection on inclusive leadership

As leaders, we have to encourage an open dialogue about inclusion by focusing on its value. To do so, I encourage every leader to measure their effectiveness by their ability to create an inclusive followership. The strength of your followership is measured by your thinking, your actions, and how you support and champion others to be successful.

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Mike Canning
Consulting principal

Core values and beliefs: A prerequisite to strong leadership

Leadership is both an innate attribute and a skill that can be developed. Like other coachable traits, it requires mentorship, dedication, and practice. To be truly great, you have to foster that spark inside that ignites when faced with new challenges. You have to be a leader and you have to desire to lead.

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Nishita Henry
Federal Technology Practice leader

Leaders are born and made

I was inspired by a bold demonstration of leadership by very young professionals who are just beginning their careers. These consultants executed strategic development and implementation seamlessly, while collaborating with Samagra, an Indian company, to enhance their mission of providing affordable and accessible sanitation services in poor, urban areas of India. It was the diversity of fresh perspectives of young, trained professionals married with the proven experience of the client’s executives that created unique value. As organizations begin to contemplate how they can accomplish their missions with greater impact, intentionally combining the creativity and experience of leaders at all levels and backgrounds will be essential.

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Kelvin Womack
Federal Leadership Solutions Service Offering leader

Conversation 2: Activating the digital organization and transition to the future of work

Leadership disrupted: Digital leadership and the federal workforce

As recently as five years ago, the relationship between IT and the business was one of enablement—how technology supports the mission of the organization. Now, everything is digital; technology isn’t just an enabler of the mission: It is the mission. The biggest leadership challenge organizations face today is leading or creating “digital-ready” organizations that can capitalize on the exponential increase in technology capabilities that impact all aspects of the business—customers, employees, management.

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Diane Murray
Civilian Sector leader

How leaders must adapt to a new era

One of my passions at Deloitte is working with organizations to reimagine how their leaders can be prepared to face the workplace of tomorrow. As a result, I often ask myself how are organizations, technology, and the workforce changing and how can I enable their leaders to be prepared for these changes? In my 30+ years of consulting, I’ve learned that traditional ways of thinking cannot last forever—this is especially true for leaders right now. Today’s leader needs to not just adapt to technology, but must embrace a new mindset to address situations more quickly, make decisions without information, take prudent risks, and be intentional about relating to and learning from others.

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David Dye
Human Capital Managing Director

Fostering high performing teams

The key to this current digital era is not merely change, but change at an accelerating rate. Company-wide software upgrades used to take five years—these days, two new versions would have come and gone! This generation expects a faster means of interacting with the world, demanding responsiveness, flexibility, and innovation. How can organizations deliver? The key is decentralization—“networks of teams” between small and highly autonomous units. Teams feature a variety of functional backgrounds, and focus on specific objectives. Meanwhile, a more traditional hierarchy forms the backbone from which specialized teams are assembled.

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Kathleen Purtill
Consulting Principal

Reinforcing leadership culture in the digital age

What possible relationship could there be between drones, students, and our nation’s border? I asked myself this question about these seemingly disconnected themes a couple of weeks ago at a “Red Cell” with 20 practitioners on my US Customs and Border Protection account. Red Cells are oftentimes used by intel agencies to construct potentially dangerous scenarios by uncovering connections between unrelated topics or events. I watched practitioners—from analysts to partners—challenge themselves to stretch their minds and think differently than they would in their normal project environments. They were taking risks, finding direction through ambiguity, and challenging the status quo—the exact skills that are essential for leaders in this digital age.

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Courtney Hammond
Human Capital Principal

The digital leader’s advantage

Leaning in to digital can seem intimidating for leaders. Yet leaders must lean in if they want to help their organizations transform from “doing” digital things to “becoming” digital. Once leaders take the leap by being intentional and consistent, the advantages for connection and enhanced team performance are exciting. While I am still on my personal journey toward digital leadership, I have already observed the following organizational benefits in my own area at Deloitte and with my clients.

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Sean Morris
Federal Human Capital leader

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