Connecting in Today’s New Leaderful Era

Welcome to my first blog column on Digi-Cultural Intelligence exclusively for the Rosslyn BID! Only here will you learn about timely consumer trends, attitudes and behavior as they intersect with emerging tech usage. I’m one of the first to look at cultural trends through a tech lens and decipher their current meaning and future implications. I hope my expertise will better arm Rosslyn companies to drive their numbers and business goals.


Here we go….

Okay, so why is cultural intelligence becoming so coveted in the business world? Primarily, because having such knowledge is your most powerful tool in a new era that is increasingly defined by sentiment, transparency, and a widening wealth gap. It’s about understanding behavior, feeling, lifestyle, attitudes and values of individuals, which are all working collectively to create a massive shift in our society. And this shift is being acted out over, encouraged by and accelerated as a result of emerging tech platforms, resulting in huge change. No longer does a one-size approach fit all. Miss this fact, and you’ll miss market share.

This phenomenon is further impacted by the fact that we now live in a world where people are their own paparazzi via Instagram, self-publishers via eBooks and inventors via crowdsourcing and much, much more. It can be harder to reach consumers because they are more empowered, discerning and wary. Trust has moved more toward self and peers and away from large entities. It’s very disruptive, “Leaderful” time, meaning any/multiple voices lead the conversation at once in a rather informal but very trusted way.

What does that mean for you? Quite frankly, that it is much harder to be a leader today in business. Well – actually only harder if one either is not aware and/or does not embrace the aforementioned factors. If one does, this is actually a time that offers the ability to be more creative, compelling and engaging than ever before – whether you’re a dry cleaner or a management consulting VP. It’s about discovering how to leverage and identify business opportunities in what I call the “Leaderful” era.

Leaderful means a world where we are all leaders, to a certain extent. The concept of traditional hierarchy and gatekeepers is morphing. We “follow” each other because we believe we all may have something interesting to add or say.   

So it is imperative to understand the feelings and values around this Leaderful vibe if we want to drive.  So, let me give you 3 quick insights that might be able to help:


  1. social good – think about how to apply this growing interest now or how to better expand it. How a business gives back to the community, whether on a local level or a global level, is becoming more important on the consumer decision making totem poll of sentiment. And this is not your grandmother’s type of charity. Those in the Leaderful Era want to know what types of businesses they are supporting with their dollars. They also want to have the opportunity to be engaged in such campaigns, and be notified of results. The question is, how can you incorporate this growing value organically, creatively and over digital platforms in a manner that is truly engaging?


  1. end of sustainability –I was recently invited to a panel discussion for business and policy influencers who kept asking about how to create sustainability of followers, donors, sign-ups. What if this is not the question to ask? What if sustainability is dead, and flux is the new norm? In the Leaderful era, we make up our own minds and change as it suits us. There are no more robots. As the retirement from the same company with the 25year watch offering is dead, so too is counting on sustainability in business. In the era of ephemeral content, the question we should all be asking ourselves is how can we create more broad, multi-tiered approaches that can bend and weather constant volatility. Plasticity in sustainability is what’s hot. Those who do this effectively will be the new winners.


  1. need-it-now – Meeting and anticipating the consumer’s need for speed will be one of the most important factors in business in the foreseeable future. Why? Because we are multi-taskers, half-reading, pulled in multiple directions with multiple screens. Did you know it takes only 2.7 seconds to read 140 characters? With individual attention spans now sensitive to such introductions in our culture, businesses will benefit by considering new approaches. For example, rather than lamenting about the new world, how might you enable harried people in the throes of it? How can you make whatever you do even more convenient or help create greater comfort and service in a fast-paced world? I was recently asked to host the Wearable Tech Fashion Event during the big Wearable Tech Conference held at the Artisphere right here in Rosslyn. While it was great fun, I am laying down bets that wearable tech will play an intriguing part in our society and add to/make demands around greater speed and/or convenience. I don’t think that mass wearables have been introduced just yet, but they’re coming. Are you prepared?


See you next post, and in the meantime

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