GLWS at the WGS: Part two

by | Feb 27, 2019 | Wellbeing Strategy

In last week’s edition of Wellbeing Insightswe shared the context for the World Government Summit (WGS)’s focus on wellbeing and happiness.

In today’s article, we’ll bring you the best bits from two keynote presentations and share the implications for leaders and workplace wellbeing:

  • ‘Globalization 4.0’ by Professor Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum
  • ‘The Evolution of Leaders’ by the one and only (love him or loathe him!) Tony Robbins.

We’ll continue to bring you more highlights from the WGS as part of Wellbeing Insights this year, so watch this space ☺️


Notes from ‘Globalization 4.0’ by Professor Klaus Schwab

The executive chairman of the World Economic Forum set the tone for the event with a keynote on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Professor Schwab explained how a fusion of emerging technologies across a number of fields are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, and disrupting almost every industry in every country. He specifically mentioned:

  • Robotics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Nanotechnology
  • Quantum computing
  • Biotechnology
  • The internet of things
  • The industrial internet of things (iiot)
  • Decentralized consensus
  • Fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G)
  • Additive manufacturing/3d printing
  • Fully autonomous vehicles


He described how the global system is “in danger of spinning out of control” due to three stress factors: the speed of technological changes due to 4IR, a new wave of populism and the potentially devastating impact of climate change.

He shared some statistics and predictions that were equal parts thrilling and frightening:

  • There are 30 billion devices in circulation, linking the world together.
  • 1/3rd of the world’s population is on Facebook.
  • Private companies own equivalent of 1300 books of data on each of us.
  • Whoever has the most imagination and ideas will be the winners (this is what there will be wars over to determine the future).
  • AI will always be a step ahead.
  • 45% of jobs based on logic and physical abilities will change and those dependent upon arts, music, creativity and ideas will be the jobs of the future.
  • There will be a shortage of 85 million ideas-based jobs by 2030, and this sector will grow by 5 trillion dollars plus in ‘the age of imagination’.
  • An entrepreneur friendly eco-system is required, as innovation will be key factor of global competitiveness – more so than resources.
  • We must teach creativity, imagination and design.
  • Comms in future will be more important as we move from 4G to 5G.
  • Internet will become free and cover the whole world.


Globalization 4.0 – Wellbeing implications from the GLWS team

To be frank, the implications for humanity are mind boggling. Here’s why we say this:

  1. The human brain hasn’t changed in size for 100,000 years or in shape for 35,000 years – operating for prolonged periods of unprecedented change is not how we were designed – we were built for a much simpler world, not for one with information overload from 30 billion connected devices! For 90% of human history we were hunter gatherers, we’ve been office workers for only a small fraction of 1%. In the course of only one day, the average person today is said to be exposed to as much data as someone in the 15th century would encounter in their entire life.
  2. Over the last two years alone, 90% of the data in the world was generated. Today, our attentional filters easily become overwhelmed. Paying attention costs our mental faculties a great deal.
  3. In evolutionary terms all this has happened in a nanosecond and our brains simply haven’t had time to catch up; we are awash with unprecedented data (much of which is false – but that’s yet another source of strain!).


Our GLWS research paints a clear picture:

More than a third of all leaders say they are ‘always or usually racing against the clock’, ‘pulled in too many different directions’ and ‘compromised by too many competing demands for their attention’.

Like the science deniers and disbelievers for climate change there’s a similar risk of ignoring this real and pervasive threat to our wellbeing as a result of unprecedented level and rate of change our environment. Our brains are made up of neurons – living cells with a metabolism that need oxygen and glucose to survive. When they’ve been working hard, we experience fatigue. Every status update you read on Facebook, every tweet or text message you get from a friend, every email, very phone call, every meeting and report is competing for resources in your brain.

Just as our bodies get tired and inflamed when overused, so too do our brains. But unlike the body, we don’t have the same nerve receptors in the brain and damage remains hidden for far longer. But brain fog, anxiety, depression, memory loss etc are all code for brain inflammation.


Notes from ‘The Evolution of Leaders’ by Tony Robbins

The legendary life/business coach and author Tony Robbins was next up. It was fascinating to watch him deliver his craft to an audience of critically evaluative scientists and cautious diplomats. Apparently, he hates being referred to as a motivational speaker, but he was certainly using NLP tactics to pace and lead his (reluctant and evidence-based) audience, trying to rev them up to participate. He had his work cut out.

The gist of his session was that three decisions shape our life and our success as a leader:

  1. What are you focussing on? What you focus on is what you feel. Different focusses create different feelings. Where focus goes, energy flows.
  2. What does this mean? How you interpret things changes the feelings. Beliefs create or beliefs destroy. Emotions are powerful invisible forces. Emotions shape what we do. Take the worst days and find the deeper meaning that move you forward.
  3. What are you going to DO? A leader’s job is to see something more clearly than anyone else, take that and create a vision. His advice: Look to create something. See things with confidence and certainty.


This led to an interesting assertion about momentum creation. Robbins passionately believes creating energy is the most important aspect of change—he says it’s the differentiator and that ‘execution trumps knowledge every day of the week’. He encourages all leaders to reflect on how their minds work when they are in high versus low energy states.


 The Momentum Model

Human beings have infinite potential to take action.

Robbins’ view is that leadership is not about changing potential, it’s about changing peoples’ values, so they keep doing things when you’re not there. A key message was that creating energy is all about psychology. Most peoples’ results are less than they are capable of, so a leader’s job is to close this gap.


Change your state and the results will follow

Robbins talks about our ‘state’ as being a combination of what we choose to focus on and what we do with our physiology. It begs the question, what state are we in when we are at our best?

He says we can identify our state by what we are doing with your body and that what we do with our body affects our state. Our biology triggers to change our state. When posture is up, volume is louder, pace is faster, and we’re breathing fully, it changes the way we feel.

As leaders, he implored the audience to get people to change their focus and change their physiology.

Our interpretation of Robbin’s theory, expressed in GLWS terms is our advice to encourage leaders to reflect on the extent to which they ‘make an effort to change the aspects of their thoughts, feelings or behaviours that are unhelpful’ and ‘think about their intentions and how they want to ‘show up’ each day’ for others.

What do you think? Have you seen Mr Robbins in action or read any of his books – any other angles or comments on his theory about how leaders need to evolve by focussing on momentum creation?

That’s all for this week—I feel like I’m back in Dubai!

Next week I’ll be bringing you my notes from a fascinating session with three huge names: Arianna Huffington – Founder, Thrive Global (and she might have started a media empire or something like that); Professor David Clark – University of Oxford, Chair of Experimental Psychology and the famous Dr Oz sharing ideas on ‘Mitigating the Risk of the Next Global Epidemic’; as well as the very latest in innovations in the future of personalised medicine and healthcare.

Be well,

Audrey (& Karen)

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