Christian Ulbrich: 24 hours in Davos

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Christian-Ulbrich-2015-96A day in Davos is not very different to a normal day in life. You have successes and you have failures. You listen to people with optimistic views and messages and you listen to people with less positive news and opinions. Perhaps the main difference to an ordinary day is that everything is squeezed into less time, so these experiences are very condensed.

Yesterday I listened to a discussion on the outlook for the Ukraine and today a discussion on the outlook for Russia. Funnily enough, both countries are supposed to be on the same planet, not an obvious conclusion after taking in these two sessions. What has become quite obvious is that Russia sits in the corner and the whole world has an interest to help them to get back at the table of nations respecting the values of a grown-up society. First of all that includes respecting the democratic will of a nation and its territorial integrity.

Reading my blogs this week, you may conclude that I’m only focused on geopolitical issues, but I can assure you that in between I meet a lot of clients and many others who are hopefully future clients. Davos offers a very effective platform for doing business and all the JLL colleagues here are making use of it. Still, some of these political discussions can be essential listening for businesspeople. One of the best sessions I attended today was on the Arab world. I was really impressed with what I heard. You can see that new types of leaders are coming to power and the overall outlook is much more positive than you might think. I feel encouraged to accelerate our investment into the area.

I would like to close today on leadership and cultural diversity. Yesterday and today there were opportunities to listen to Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and John Kerry. The difference in approach was fascinating. Frau Merkel kept her speech short and unspecific, sorry to say there was not much to remember.  Monsieur Hollande made a tour de raison for more than an hour. He clearly wanted to reinforce the importance of the Grande Nation, frankly it would have been good enough to commit to the necessary structural reforms so that Europe’s growth is supported. Mr. Kerry was passionate, thoughtful and really inspiring. He spoke with respect and empathy to an audience of great diversity and cultural background. He clearly got to the heart of people. If one of the European political leaders were to be prepared to adopt that style of inspirational leadership, I’m convinced that many of the challenges the European Union is facing would be resolved.  Mr. Kerry was prepared to be a leader.