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Leadership Conversations

Hubert Joly & Ole Rosgaard Talk Leading Through Uncertainty

Hubert Joly, the former CEO of Best Buy, and Ole Rosgaard, the CEO of Greif, discuss leadership, diversity, inclusion, and navigating challenging times. The two discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in a leadership team, the qualities of a good leader, and how to navigate periods of uncertainty and change.


Leadership is an inside-out process rather than a top-down one

The conversation emphasizes the importance of leadership being an internal process, with individuals driving their own paths rather than just following orders from above. “It’s leadership from the inside out as opposed to top down,” said Hubert Joly, highlighting that it’s a challenging journey rather than a simple task.

Joly also stressed the significance of diversity and inclusion within a workplace. “The country is quickly becoming majority brown and black,” he said, “half of the population has always been women; how stupid would it be to build an organization just with people like you and I, aging white men.” This highlights the need for companies to adapt and reflect the changing demographics of society.

Through these changes, leaders should be aware of the importance of making every employee feel included. Joly shared a story about a young man whose life changed when a manager recognized and took an interest in him, emphasizing that “everyone needs to feel included that they belong.”


The essence of effective leadership lies in certain key values

Hubert Joly outlined his five Be’s of purposeful leadership:

  1. be clear about one’s purpose in life (your true north)
  2. be clear about your role as a leader
  3. be clear about who you serve as a leader
  4. be values-driven – integrity is essential
  5. be the embodiment of the five qualities of great leaders. Those traits are authenticity, empathy, vulnerability, humility, and humanity.


He noted that “the new standard for me…is are you doing your best, are you doing everything you can to move in that direction?”

He further suggested that leaders should be adaptable and ready to seize opportunities in times of uncertainty. “In a world of massive change, the resilient organizations will be those who will thrive in the new environment,” he stated.

Moreover, Joly highlighted that during uncertain times, leaders should remember to practice self-care of themselves first and be kind to themselves when things do not go as planned.


Leadership is about defining one’s own path

Hubert Joly emphasized the importance for leaders to define their own path. He suggested that leaders should reflect upon how they want to be remembered and what kind of leader they want to be. They should also write down their leadership purpose, principles, and key values.

He also highlighted the importance of being forward-thinking, suggesting that leaders should write themselves a letter that reflects on what they will have accomplished in the next few years. “Write yourself a letter that you know is going to be looking at what you would have done in the next 12, 24, 36 months or maybe longer,” he suggested.

Hubert Joly underscored that these challenging times should be seen as an opportunity to serve and redefine one’s leadership. “This is a leadership moment, an opportunity to rise and be our best,” he said.



  • Diversity and inclusion are important in a leadership team. If a diverse population doesn’t feel they belong, they’re not going to stay.
  • The qualities of a good leader include authenticity, empathy, vulnerability, humility, and humanity.
  • In times of uncertainty and change, it’s important to take care of oneself, reflect and reframe things, see opportunities, and be kind to oneself.
  • It’s important to spend time reflecting on what kind of leader one wants to be and how one wants to be remembered.
  • Writing a letter to oneself about what one would have done in the next few years can be a helpful exercise in self-reflection and goal-setting.



  • “Diversity is indeed important… the country is quickly becoming majority brown and black… how stupid would it be to build an organization just with people like you and I, aging white men.”
  • “I believe that if it had been Leman Brothers and sisters as opposed to Leman Brothers… I think it could have been a different outcome.”
  • “In a world that has become so volatile and uncertain and chaotic, most of us don’t have the answer during covid… we have to learn humility in leadership.”
  • “In this mess we’re in, try to see opportunities… spend time with the frontliners, spend time with the customers, what are their needs.”
  • “In a context that’s highly unpredictable, this is not going to be linear… be kind to yourself… the new standard for me… is are you doing your best.”
  • “As you begin the year, spend time reflecting as a leader… what kind of a leader do I want to be.”
  • “Write yourself a letter that you know is going to be looking at what you would have done in the next 12, 24, 36 months or maybe longer… that is deserving of having.”


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