AT&T Business and Deloitte CEOs discuss the changing nature of leadership

DALLAS–“Disruption is the new normal,” Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Business, said during a panel discussion at the AT&T Business Summit. “The generation of employees that are entering now are coming from this connected generation and they think and work differently.” He said the move from evolution to adaption has ushered in a “new era of leadership disruption. It’s still about people; it’s human-centered. The disruptive element is how do you create a culture that’s innovative at its heart but collaborative in such a way that you can embrace the current generation and tomorrow’s.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who moderated the discussion, noted that careers are no longer linear. “I still think of my career in a linear way, but that’s kind of an old-fashioned way to think about it.”

Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert agreed. She said the company hired 75,000 employees last year, and noted the company has a roughly even split of men and women and an average employee age of 27. “One of the things we look for is, you know, we’re coining this term HI–human ingenuity.” She called out the relationship between HI and AI. “It’s not an easy thing for our recruiters to actually assess.”

In an world marked by continual re-skilling of employees, Engelbert hit on a topic of significant interest. “Everyone is worried about the robot apocalypse…I read something the other day that said this is more about mass re-employment, not mass unemployment.”

So how do you hire people for jobs that don’t exist yet, Cooper asked.

Hire adaptable people, Arroyo said. “We hire for experience…but one of the most important attributes is hiring for evolutionary potential. You’re moving into a world where the experience that you bring is only the seedling you have to nurture through building of capabilities. You have to really get good at selecting those that you know have the capabilities to evolve with the work.”




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