Why is being brave so important for today's leaders?

The Forum: Our new 2019 Fellows gave their thoughts

We asked a few of our Fellows for their thoughts on being brave today. Here's what they had to say.

Raj Kumar
Global Director (Corporate Reputation and Brand Governance) at Aviva

‘I think for the pace of change that the industry is going through, marketers need to be at the forefront. We are the lateral thinkers of the organisation, the ones who know the most about the customer, natural story-tellers, who bind people together. Bravery can be taking the unpopular decision, possibly without having as much data as possible. But really owning that change and that challenge is brave because we are the ones that can lead it’. 

John Gilbert
Owner at JGFR

‘I think we’re entering a time of great uncertainty, mainly through politics and the economy but also through digital transformation - the challenges for any marketer are far greater.

When I came into the industry in the mid-to-late 80s, I was at the forefront of financial services marketing. Today, many issues are much greater than they were then, and the way you actually market it is more of a challenge. To be brave is crucial'. 

Jackie Duff
Global Strategic Director (Corporate Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability) Coca-Cola

‘I think being brave is critical in every industry, but particularly in marketing where it’s a multi-functional discipline and particularly when you’re working in international markets that are constantly changing’.

David Wethey
Author and Founder of Agency Assessments International and Creative Partnerships Consulting

‘I can’t remember a time when the landscape was changing so fast or when even the brightest and most influential people knew all the answers.

I think bravery is often not knowing everything, but knowing when to say you don’t know the answer. When the world is facing one direction and everything you read in magazines or online points in one direction. Bravery is questioning that. Not to be difficult, but to question, are we sure that’s what we should be doing?'

Simon Michaelides
Chief Transformation Officer at UKTV and BBC Studios UK

‘Bravery and leadership in the current environment, are synonymous at the moment. It doesn’t matter what sector you’re in, we are all in an incredibly dynamic, fluid, constantly evolving marketplace, and I think if you’re going to continue to survive in that environment, bravery is key. 

Bravery is what our colleagues and team demand of us. They want brave leadership and they want to see someone that stands for something, not just as an individual but as a business and it’s what the marketplace demands. 

As a leader, your job is to inspire and motivate and direct others and I think ‘how are you going to be able to do that if you’re not brave?’ I don’t think you’re going to be an inspirational leader that people want to follow if they see the opposite of bravery’. 

Vicky Bullen
CEO at Coley Porter Bell

'Being brave is critical because the pace of change in our world is faster than ever, with changing market conditions, changing consumer worlds and attitudes, changing technology, changing political and economic climate....the list goes on.

As marketers and agencies, our task is to respond to that change and we have to be brave to do that by acting swiftly and decisively, grabbing opportunities by the horns, trying new things that take advantage of those changes and making sure that we respond dynamically and fluidly. It's our responsibility to turn those changes into opportunities for our brands and businesses'.