‘Leaders in Lockdown’ – Review by Drogheda Business book Club

On 14th January, Drogheda Business Book Club met up online to discuss December’s book pick “Leaders in Lockdown”. Most members seemed to like the book with the average score of 7/10. Attendees commented on the great variety of topics covered, from leadership to PR, from medicine and robotics to travel and education, and complimented author on the easy-to-read writing style and a great summary at the end of the book. This publication will suit a wide audience and will definitely be a fast read, as most of our book club members read it in two sittings.

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More insights and a summary of key points from the book down below. Enjoy! Next meeting: 18th February at 1pm.

Through interviews with 28 thoughtful leaders, this book has identified that change is most likely, and most needed, in seven key areas:

  • Purpose – “companies with purpose last, brands with purpose grow, people with purpose thrive”.
  • New world of work – presenteeism is dead, there will be an existential change in the way we work. It has implications for offices, scheduling, commuting, business travel and productivity. Customers and suppliers need not know boundaries as geography becomes history.
  • Inequality – fairer finance for the poor, gender equality.
  • Global cooperation – companies working together to deliver results, not to fight against each other. Greater collaboration between private and public sectors.
  • Resilience – refocusing attention on the danger of the short-term mindset and the value of long-term thinking.
  • Resetting supply chain – supply chain revolution through digital. The pandemic exposed weaknesses that had developed over decades of corporate decision-making based on efficiency and the lowest cost. Supply chains will become simpler, closer to home, and less at risk of disruption due to politics or pandemics. There will also be acceleration in robotics and automation.
  • Maximising potential – new methods and behaviours to maximise the individual potential of leaders and their teams, e.g. monitoring health of staff through 24/7 wearable health tracker – preventive medicine to replace reactionary medicine. Empathy and compassion will become core characteristics of a good leader.

The overall feeling is that COVID-19 will act as an accelerator to transformations that are already taking place in the world: primarily digital, robotics and medical.

“I think that in the future there will be multiple robots in every household, responsible for simple tasks. That will leave people to be increasingly engaged in more creative work” – LI TONG, CEO, KEENON ROBOTICS


“Everything around medicine is cheaper and more effective if it is preventative rather than curative. A wearable health tracking device, or over time it will be IN your body, will be collecting everything you need to measure and understand your health. It’s pushing you to be a better version of yourself and to be fitter and healthier” –    WILL AHMED, CEO, WHOOP

“With universities flipping to virtual, I predict that digitisation of content will mean societies and governments are going to recognise the value of being able to democratise education. That will mean there is no good reason not to make high-quality education accessible to everyone” – GARY LIU, CEO, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

“One of the political choices is to use public money to end the means-tested system and make social care free at the point of delivery for everyone” – SIR DAVID BEHAN, EXECUTIVE CHAIR, HC-ONE

“COVID-19 will make the business world reassess its crisis communications. Communicating is about listening, not transmitting” – SALLY OSMAN, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, THE ROYAL FAMILY