Ep 360: Simon Cook of Cannes Lions - 'The Humble Leader'

Here’s a question. How have you been changed by the last two years? 

This week’s guest is Simon Cook, the CEO of Cannes Lions

Cannes is an institution. One built on in-person connections. Like many organizations dependent on human contact, it has struggled in the face of a two year long, global pandemic.

Organizations reflect their leaders. Style. Sensibilities. Ethics. Values. Priorities and Intention. All of these come from or are influenced by the person with the authority to say yes or no.

The Cannes Lions Festival has built a reputation for many things over the years. At its best, it shines a very bright light on the power of creativity to drive both business and change. And it acts as a shaper and predictor of what comes next. It has enormous influence.

Amidst, all that, one word no one has ever used to describe Cannes is humble.

Creativity is fueled by confidence. The willingness to boldly go where no one has gone before.

But is is shaped and guided by humility. The recognition that creativity for creativity sake is not only wasteful, it is irresponsible. The understanding that when you have enormous impact, how you use that impact has wide and far reaching implications.

Until 2020 showed up on our doorstep, confidence was not a scarce resource.

But the flood of humility that has arrived in the last two years gives hope that the power of creativity can now be brought to bear in ways that are filled more with hope than hubris.

If Cannes does indeed reflect its leader, its role in guiding  and shaping the future will become even more valuable.

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