MU’s CEO, Richard Moore Shares Timeless Leadership Insights at Aarhus Symposium

By Sofia Hjort Lönegård Richard Moore

In one of the keynote addresses at the Aarhus Symposium in Denmark, Richard Moore, CEO of MU, engaged with around a 1000 ambitious MBA students about the future of leadership.

“Thank you for inviting me to the Aarhus Symposium 2023 to talk to you about the future of leadership. I hope I can demystify the future of work for you and help you answer at least 3 questions:

  • How should you lead?
  • How can you make good leadership decisions?
  • How can you have a successful career?”

The event, which brought together speakers such as Microsoft's CEO for Denmark and Iceland,  the CEO for Carlsberg,  the Vice Chair of Volvo and other high-level speakers, proved to be an extraordinary opportunity for collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Three Simple Stories For Increased Leadership Success – Now and in the Future

Richard’s main purpose was to demystify effective leadership. His theme was about continuity – in an ever changing workplace what makes for good and effective leadership is more stable than some might realise. So what does make for good and effective leadership now and in the future? Richard choose to use stories from his own leadership experience, lessons learned from MU Experts,   and of course from science, to highlight his advice.

“Realising there is a lot of noise around the topic of leadership – just ChatGPT it and see for yourselves - I decided to tell you about the future of leadership in three short stories. This is what I would like to tell you. Each story contains something I learned from my experience and the wisdom of others – that I think is important for your future as a leader.”

Lesson 1: Light Up: Illuminating the Path to Leadership Success

“Heading into work it would not be strange if you had two main thoughts in your head about your future. One might be - how will I compete for the best jobs with the most prestigious employers? Another related thought might be “How can I make sure I know the most, achieve the highest grades, so I rise to the top?” Both these ways of thinking are natural, I thought the same, but they are very unhelpful to leaders”

Richard initiated his speech with a story emphasising the critical lesson of lighting up others in order to succeed. Drawing parallels with fireflies, he unveiled the power of collective brilliance. The success rate for fireflies increases by 79% when they are illuminated together, mirroring the essence of leadership—focusing on others and building a collaborative network. Richard stressed that both now and in the future of work, "soft skills" and a positive network would be paramount.

System 2: Decoding the Art of Decision-Making

The second story delved into the problem of using gut instinct and the importance of deliberate thinking. He shared a pivotal encounter with MU's founder, who advised him to prioritise systematic and effortful thinking over taking rushed actions. Quoting Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, Richard underscored the significance of gathering evidence, relying on facts, and forming a sound judgment in decision-making. The anecdote highlighted the importance of understanding data and statistics, and used that as a factful base for decisions instead of a general feeling.

Your gut instinct is not to be trusted, and your personal opinion matter much less than you might think it does.

Ikigai: Crafting a Purposeful Career

Richard concluded his trilogy of stories by introducing "Ikigai," a Japanese concept about having a purpose. Ikigai teaches us that work and life are not opposing forces to be balanced as some will have you believe, rather they are integrated concepts. He emphasised the importance of finding one's own flow within their life-work.

  • What is your professional passion?
  • What can you perform well at?
  • What the world or the market needs?
  • What can you be paid for?

He also dismantled the notion that the prestige of a prior employer matters, asserting that professional achievements and the ability to overdeliver in any organisation are the true markers of success.

An important learning is that it does not matter very much which company you work for. What matters is to perform well at the job you get.

Timeless Leadership Insights

The overarching theme of the address was that leadership transcends titles and is relatively stable over time; it's about the impact we make on people and so results. Being kind and collaborative, making important decisions factually and overdelivering memorably were presented as the cornerstones of a successful leadership career.

“We, todays leaders, managed to survive and even prosper through random and large-scale change, and uncertainty - and so will you. You – tomorrow leaders are more skilled and better educated than we were,  you will do great. I hope the lessons within these three simple stories will help you on your way to success at work:

  • How should you lead in the future? By lighting up with others. Build a kind and collaborative network.
  • How can you make good decisions? Effortful, orderly and deliberate thinking. Make logical decisions.
  • How can you have a successful career? Strive for excellence in the job you get. Overdeliver memorably.