International bestselling author Jim Collins delivered the day's opening keynote at GBTA's The Masters Program 2014 on Tuesday, February 11th, in Washington, D.C. Collins highlighted the 12 key questions every leader should ask while discussing what distinguishes great organizations from the merely good and what it takes to excel as a leader in the business travel industry.
"Business travel is an arena that demands great leadership," said Collins. "Greatness and great leadership is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is first and foremost a matter of conscious choice and discipline."
Collins said there is no question that leaders can be built and good leaders can become great leaders. He called humility the x-factor of truly great leadership and said the single most important executive skill to cultivate is the ability to make great people decisions, ensuring you've got all the key seats filled with the right people.
"The 2014 Masters Program delivered on its promise to bring together the best and brightest minds in the business world for the ultimate networking and learning experience," said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. "Ideas and fresh perspectives were shared as industry leaders strive to continue to keep pace and enjoy success in the constantly evolving business travel industry."
Gareth Williams CEO of Skycanner, which grew from three employees in 2003 to 380 today with plans to add 200 more this year, shed light on their meta-search approach by calling it "look, book and travel." He added that creating the best consumer-oriented tool provides many of the same features that are needed for business travelers.
VerbalizeIt Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Frankel, KDS CEO Dean Forbes and GroundLink CEO Dean Sivley took part in a panel discussion focused on innovation and disruption, looking at challenges in corporate travel and technology and what the marketplace can expect from the next wave of innovation. Themes of the session included solving a business problem, focusing on the end user, and creating the best possible user experience.
Pamela Codispoti, American Express Executive Vice President and General Manager, talked about the changing dynamics of the frequent traveler as millennials now comprise 50 percent of the workforce and more road warriors expect the same type of experience they enjoy in consumer life. She said it is important to think of the end user first and create all of our solutions with their ever-evolving needs in mind.
The programming concluded with an executive interview featuring Steve Singh, CEO of Concur, which recently added more than 1,000 new customers in December and hit $545 million in revenue for 2013. Singh says they should reach another major milestone – a $1 billion run rate by 2016. Singh talked about the significant advantages of being a cloud computing company. With roughly 20 billion Internet connected devices expected by 2015 – more than the number of people on the planet – Singh said a "mobile-only" approach is coming.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world's premier business travel and meetings organization. Collectively, GBTA's 6,000-plus members manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its network of 21,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers, with networking events, news, education & professional development, research, and advocacy. For more information, visit gbta.org.
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