Curiosity is key in this age of uncertainty

Businesses must continually reinvent themselves, Sky’s Jeremy Darroch tells LBS audience


Jeremy Darroch In Conversation 482x271

“Running complex organisations today isn’t easy,” Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky, told an audience at London Business School (LBS). Likening the challenge to climbing a mountain, he said: “Today’s leaders need different tools. Change is only scary if you cling to the need for certainty.”

Leaders should get out there and talk to the people in their organisations, he said. “Your two greatest weapons are your ability to be curious and to listen, because the old certainties no longer hold. Meeting the needs of the future will not be achieved by blindly looking at what worked in the past. Almost all institutions today need a rethink.” 

He said it was important to create optimism by visualising and celebrating successes and that leaders should find their businesses’ essential truths: “It has to be authentic and unspun.” He said Rob Goffee, Emeritus Professor of Organisational Behaviour at LBS and co-author of the influential book Why Should Anyone Work Here?, inspired him to create a workplace where each person could “be yourself, but more, with skill”.

Jeremy Darroch at LBS 482x271
Darroch quoted the American football coach Bill Walsh, who said: “I directed our focus less to the prize of victory than the process of improving.” This approach, refocusing on actions and attitude rather than the ultimate outcome, got results. Said Darroch: “You can’t control the outcome absolutely but you can control the process. You can perform at a level that will make success possible.”

The event, part of the In Conversation series and inspired by the School’s Rethinking leadership campaign in association with the LBS Leadership Institute, was hosted by the Institute’s Academic Director, Randall S Peterson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at LBS.