Main Content

The Big-Picture Thinking

Karen Christensen

BEING MORE POWERFUL than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound were once considered impressive superpowers. But in today’s world, there are abilities that are far more useful for leaders than those displayed by the superheroes of yore.

As we show in this issue, today’s management superpowers include having strategic foresight, knowing how to manage conflict, fostering innovation, helping others grow, addressing both ESG and DEI issues and understanding AI’s pros and cons — to name a few. The best part: unlike Superman’s outdated powers, all of these can be learned.

We kick the issue off with Rotman Professor of Strategic Management Anita M. McGahan and Rotman PhD graduate Leandro Pongeluppe show the level of impact that purpose-driven corporations can attain in the world, in There Is No Planet B: Lessons from a Sustainability Innovator.

Elsewhere in this issue, one of the world’s leading conflict-resolution experts, Harvard’s William Ury, shares insights for dealing with disagreements big and small, in The Mindset of the Possiblist. The smartest organizations do more than manage the ESG factors that are material to their business: they also recognize — and address — their interdependence.

Rotman Professor Walid Hejazi, Executive-in-Residence Andrea Barrack and RBC’s Susan McGeachie show How to Integrate ESG Into Your Organization’s DNA. 

We also provide insights for building up your superpowers in strategic foresight (Creating Visions of the Future); DEI (Was It Me or Was That Gender Discrimination?); innovation (Measuring Digital Innovation); creating an atmosphere of psychological safety (Unlearning Silence) and mastering uncertainty (Navigating Without a Map)

Our Idea Exchange includes insights from Stanford’s A.J. Crum and co-authors (on optimizing stress); University of North Carolina’s Steven Rogelberg (on the perennial value of the 1:1 meeting); Amazon ‘Best Books of 2023’ author Scott Shigeoka (on the power of curiosity); as well as Rotman faculty Sarah Kaplan (on Upholding Indigenous Economic Relationships,) Gary Latham (on mastering goal-setting) and Executive-in-Residence Jennifer Lee (Rotman MBA ‘06) on ‘consulting 2.0.’

In her message to the Rotman community in January 2024, Dean Susan Christoffersen summed up the current leadership challenge succinctly — and touched on many of the ‘superpowers’ we cover in this issue: 

We need leaders who can innovate and navigate a world that is rapidly changing while remaining true to their purpose and values…[and tackle] macroeconomic risks — climate, technology and social. The rapid pace of technological change is not only going to increase the need for people to understand the role of AI…[it] is going to elevate the importance of our human skills to strategize, to empathize and to engage with kindness, compassion and respect.

My ‘spidey sense’ tells me that embracing the Dean’s message will lead to perhaps the greatest superpower of all: Making a positive impact on your organization — and the world. 


The name Karen signed in cursive
Karen Christensen, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @RotmanMgmtMag

Share this article:

Read More Follow Us on twitter Email List Subscribe Today