Malcolm Gladwell calls for social risk-taking at du’s fourth CEO Forum

du hosted more than 400 CEOs from prominent UAE businesses at the du CEO Forum 2013, the fourth event of its kind held under the company’s Leadership Series. New York Times bestselling author, Malcolm Gladwell, presented a keynote address to the Forum, which took place on 22 May in Dubai, under the event’s theme of ‘Extraordinary Lives and Achievements’. The Forum was opened by Osman Sultan, CEO, du.

Gladwell spoke on the importance of social risk-taking, and how it is at the heart of every high-performance culture. He focused on three key notions: the disagreeableness, urgency, and constraints, as being the drivers of success.

“Social risk-taking is at the core of what it takes to build cultures that are open to entrepreneurship and innovation. A social risk is trying new ideas, putting your reputation on the line, challenging conventional wisdom, making the people around you uncomfortable; you have to adopt a sense of urgency, face disagreeableness, and work within constraints. Cultures that reward entrepreneurs – any successful transformative culture will have a sense of urgency,” said Gladwell.

Speaking at the event, Sultan said: “I strongly believe that we need to listen to today’s storytellers – not through technology or machines, but H2H – human to human, where we can see the storyteller’s eyes, heart and mind. That is why we gather together for the CEO Forum, to be able to see, read and understand things differently, from the perspective of the storyteller. I would like to thank Malcolm for addressing the fourth CEO Forum, and thank the attending CEOs for joining us this evening. My congratulations go to my colleagues who developed such a successful event – this is the fourth time we have held this Forum, and the 2013 edition was even more spectacular than in previous years.”

du’s CEO Forum is an invitation-only event, held as part of the company’s Leadership Series. Through these innovative, inspirational events, du aims to bring together the UAE’s top business leaders for a series of sessions with some of the world’s most thought-provoking thinkers – such as Malcolm Gladwell and previous speakers Professor Clayton Christensen, best-selling author Robin Sharma, inventor Pranav Mistry, and Chris Anderson.

du’s Leadership Series aims to host CXO forums and round-table discussions annually, bringing some of the world’s most prestigious leaders to speak to invited guests on a variety of subjects, including capital management, strategy, human capital and technology, among others.