This week Norway hosted 150 partners and 10,000 attendees across 50 events in Oslo, the country's technology and startup epicenter. The event attracted entrepreneurs and innovators from around the globe, including the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama. This afternoon, entrepreneurs and presidents alike came together to discuss the future of tech, entrepreneurship and sustainability.
Business leaders and entrepreneurs came from countries across the globe including Spain, Singapore and Croatia hoping for gems of business wisdom.
And they weren't disappointed, the president took the stage and right away started dishing out advice for corporate leaders and entrepreneurs. Here's some of his most resonate tips:
1. Care about the world, not just your bottom line.
Expressing frustrations with US business organizations he explained that "They are very interested in cutting their own taxes. They are very interested in reducing regulatory constraints on their operations. They are less interested in exerting influence to make sure that the society is operating in a more just option." He then advised that this in turn "will be bad for business."
Obama encouraged the audience to think about your company policies and actions from the perspectives of not those not only in close proximity but also around the globe. He urged business to "pay attention outside of the four corners of their balance sheet." Insinuating that oftentimes brands are concerned with just their bottom line, he then explained that if we all are concerned with the well being with others, it will make the world economy a better place for business.
2. The youth is the future. Hire them.
Obama praised many young businesses for being aware that they must be thinking globally. He then told an anecdote that he's always learning things from his children and that older generations can be stubborn to embrace change.
"To all the young people here, old people don't give up what they have." boldly stated Obama. "At some point you'll have to take it. It's not just true in business or in politics, it's true in life." He urged the audience to make fostering young talent a priority.
"If you are a business leader or entrepreneur my age, if you are not cultivating young talent, your organization will fail. The single most important thing for you to do is to identify and empower and nurture that next generation. One thing I was very proud of in the White House was at the very pinnacle of power [and] making decisions that had impact on billions of people [is that] I had a couple of 30-something year olds who were our key policy makers." When making hiring decisions, hiring a wide range of age groups will encourage differing viewpoints. Having this diversity can help your team solve problems through a broader lens.
3. The future is also female.
After encouraging the audience to hire our youth, he then moved on to gender inclusion and stated that if "you are on the board of a company and you look around and it's all a bunch of men, you've got a problem--you are not well organized to succeed." He noted that companies that have a higher percentage of women are more likely to have higher revenue and stock valuation. When making hiring decisions it's important to make diversity and inclusion not just a thought, but a priority.
Creating a culture of inclusively, was a theme throughout Obama's talk. The next time you're at work, look around. If the balance of gender is skewed, the focus is only on the bottom line and there is an age gap, think about how you can bring change for a more diverse and global culture.