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PowerTalk #10 – The Path to the Next Normal: So What Now for Leadership?

James McCulloch

As societies and businesses cope with the new normal, the priorities for leadership have changed

2020 has so far been a year of great challenge and disruption. The implications of this leadership, work and learning have been rapid and are continuing.

As the outbreak continues to move quickly, some of the perspectives and strategies may rapidly fall out of date. We are witnessing an imminent restructuring to the global economic order, where societies and businesses are having to cope with the ‘new normal’. The economic upheaval is forcing companies to view digitalisation not only as a strategically important issue, but a necessity at the present time.

The post-pandemic world will be a very different place to live in. Digitalisation has now created an even larger leadership gap in companies around the world but as we are witnessing, venturing into the unknown is now viewed as an opportunity rather than a challenge.

So how has COVID-19 changed the priorities for leadership? What are the leadership traits that we should hold on to during this transition and those that we must cultivate, as businesses pivot from a crisis management mindset to a more creative and innovative one to survive the brutal short term in order to thrive in the long run? This webinar session looks into a hybrid approach towards leadership, simplifying the qualities that combine technology and human ingenuity towards the creation of a trusted and purposeful organisation that is resilient and innovative beyond 2020. There will be no ‘return to normal’.

This special online edition of the PowerTalk will provide a broad overview on all these areas, including best practice examples from around the world, tools leader can use immediately and the opportunity to explore this further in the panel discussion.

  1. How leadership and wellbeing are closely linked – and why this matters even more now
  2. Communicating with transparency and empathy in turbulent times – the two most important aspects to this
  3. Lessons in leadership from the New Zealand response
  4. Why it is critical to develop leadership skills in the digital era – minus the resistance, fear & anxiety
  5. Why leadership and learning are over complicated, and what this now needs to look like in the new world of work
  6. The MCO gave us a chance to experience a new business model and work mobilisation: what must now do to build on that?

Learning Outcomes


  • What does this mean for you as a leader


  • What needs to happen within your organisation and industry


  • What you need to be thinking about now to best prepare for future ‘norms’


  • Simple learning and leadership tools you can use immediately


Tuesday, 21 April 2020 | Special Edition, Online PowerTalk
PowerTalk by James McCulloch, Chief Executive of Inspire Group Asia, New Zealand
The Path to the Next Normal: So What Now for Leadership?
2.40pm Panel Dialogue
3.10pm Question & Answer
3.30pm End of Online PowerTalk

ICDM reserves the right to alter the content and timing of the programme as it deems fit and is not responsible for cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances.


Chief Executive, Inspire
Group Asia, New Zealand

James is Chief Executive of Inspire Group Asia, an international learning and digital design company founded in New Zealand and now operating globally – including a learning hub in Kuala Lumpur. He has extensive senior leadership experience in public, private and non-profit sectors. As a CEO, he has led organisations in the UK and New Zealand, and was formerly Community Director for the City of London.

Throughout his career, James has seen first-hand that one of the biggest influences on our health, happiness and wellbeing is where most of us will spend around 10,000 days of our lives: work. And what has the biggest impact on the quality of that experience? The leadership we experience, and practice. He is a regular international keynote speaker, presenter and panelist on leadership, wellbeing, and the future of work and learning.

Session Summary

“The speed and thoughtfulness with which business respond to a crisis will determine their future.


“In going towards the new normal, we need what we have always needed; fairness, physiological safety, clarity and making meaning of what we can do —a role with purpose.”


The components that make a good leader are having a growth mindset, being able to lead self before others and providing both direction and inspiration.”


“Three (3) core skills of a leader include providing clear directions, being able to engage in difficult conversations and finding ways to collaborate.”


“We need to simplify that relationship between leadership and well-being. We need to strip away what that is not a value and think a lot more about the impact they make. In the new normal, we must not just adapt, we need to thrive.”


Professor Datin Dr Mei Pheng Lee, Honorary Adjunct Professor, Bond University

Thank you, ICDM, James and Frances for this encouraging, useful and insightful session.

Ms Zulaifah Abdul Ghani, Country Finance Lead/Head COE, Luxasia (M) Sdn Bhd

Thank you ICDM for bringing yet another powerful presentation and sharing of great insights and perspectives. Thank you to James and Frances, truly impactful.

Ms Idora Ibrahim, Assistant Vice President, MNRB Holdings Bhd

Thank you wonderful panelists for the perk-me-up & all the insights.

Mr Yeoh Chee Beng, & Director, Sutera Lux Hotels & Resorts Sdn Bhd

A very engrossing session. Thanks James, Frances, Nadia & the ICDM team.

Puan Nik Fazila Shihabuddin, Group Managing Director, Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad

Thank you for the great dialogue!