Talking Purposeful, Global Leadership

An Interview with Senior Executive, Emily Chang: Purpose and Profit, Meaningful Global Leadership, Commercialization, Innovation, and Mentorship in a COVID-19 World

It’s apparent that you’ve followed a rich and diverse career and life path. Can you tell us a bit about your journey?

I feel incredibly lucky to have had such rich and joyful learning experiences so far. And importantly, I’ve discovered what I love to do. The opportunity to connect dots that haven’t been previously connected, unlocking new potential. What motivates me is adding value to people and to business. Regardless of industry or geography, realizing that potential gives me deep satisfaction.

While COVID-19 continues to affect the health and economies of countries across the globe, what do you think must be top of mind for executives at global enterprise companies?

  1. Exercise a new level of agile strategic thinking: We need to stop thinking of “post-COVID” as a solid milestone. It’s quite likely we’re not done with the after-effects of the virus and there’s not going to be a “new normal” as much as a series of “next normals”. COVID-19 has triggered a series of consumer and market shifts that will only give rise to further behavioral transformation. We will need to plan, engage, and lead with unprecedented agility.
  2. Allow shared purpose to unearth new capability: Living life with intention and purpose has been a huge passion of mine. It’s what I’m focused on in the book I’m writing. In the workplace, I’ve been so inspired by those who have pivoted their operations to serve a broader purpose. Sports and auto manufacturers are producing ventilators, while distilleries are pivoting to producing sanitizers. These companies seem to be identifying new capabilities, even as they challenge old sacred cows. They’re serving new needs and streamlining processes-and making money! They’ve discovered the beautiful, value-added intersection of purpose and profit.
  3. Interrogate the data: We must recognize that the world has changed. Consumer habits, media consumption, online behavior, and digital engagement have all taken a quantum leap. As we seek insights from our databases, we must exercise discernment and not allow old data to inform new decisions. Obsolete data isn’t that which was collected and shared in 2018… it’s as recent as January 2020.

What kind of leaders do we need to lead amidst a COVID and post-COVID world?

Selling in a time where uncertainty is the norm is a challenge. What’s your approach to shifting commercialization strategies right now? Does Marketing continue to market? Does Sales continue to sell?

Many think of constraints as obstacles to innovation. But, creativity and innovation often thrive under constraint. Do you have a perspective on how global enterprises should be defining innovation today?

How do you see the ripple effect of this on culture and how we connect as global entities and communities? What are the long-term implications? How does this ripple out on the internal cultures of companies?

In terms of culture in the workplace, teams always learn faster than individuals. Progress unfolds when egos are set aside. When a company’s culture allows the best idea to win, the business serves customers better than ever. IKEA did some incredible, insightful work, leveraging ideas from their open source platform to make novel accessibility add-ons available via free download and 3D printing. This was a good idea for an underserved population that was also good for business.

What advice would you give to younger talent looking for work or early in their careers? How can they use this time to their advantage?

So, what’s your answer going to be? With this in mind, you can more intentionally adopt a growth mindset. Are you going to say, “I sat at home in my PJs and got Zoom fatigue?” Whether it’s learning to make bread, sewing masks, or getting in an RV, this is your opportunity to write your story.

We will continue to look outside of our own agency for inspiration, advice, insights, and perspective on COVID-19 and the implications on business, brand, and culture.

Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design agency based in Oakland, California.

Originally published at on May 26, 2020.

Emotive Brand is a strategy and design firm: We work with executives to drive growth in revenue, brand, and culture #b2b #tech #b2c #product #growth #branding

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