Daniel Granatta: leadership & diversity in the future

In the private & public sectors, in entrepreneurship and in our daily lives, we face the challenge of designing new ways of being and doing. But, where to start? How to rethink our leadership to prepare adequate teams for new challenges?

To explore these questions we’ve interviewed Daniel Granatta, a futurist. He helps different-size companies to “think more and better about the future, making better business decisions in the present”. In addition, he’s the coordinator of the Creativity module of ISDI Mexico’s Internet Business Master and speaker at Dalia Empower.

I: Why have you called your talk ‘Four friends who want to change the world’?

D: Originally my talk was about what men can learn from feminism, but when I was invited to lectures people got scared solely by the name, so I decided to make a more timeless proposal, with less voltage and more inclusive. I talk not only about feminism, but about the importance of diversity which affects in so many levels.

Hence, the name of the talk I will conduct in Dalia Empower: “Four friends who want to change the world”. Historically, when four friends come together for a purpose, important things happen. Political parties or rock bands are created. It’s a way of paying homage to what happens when there’s complicity and unites wills and ambitions in favor of an idea with the intention of making a change.

This reaction to my talk on feminism has also made me think that men could learn something from this movement and support more. It’s necessary to redefine what it means to be a man, because masculinity, as we understand it today, is very fragile and doesn’t work anymore. We must do a backward/forward analysis of what it means to be a man nowadays.

We’re at a crisis and not only in that sense. The established order of things no longer functions. We need a different type of leadership because if we don’t learn to surf through changes, waves will fall on us. Some companies survive at their employees’ expense, although the world and history have shown us that ‘the end justifies the means’ is no longer accurate. We can’t sustain the mentality that everything must be monetizable. If we don’t understand human relationships and the impact of our actions, we won’t get anywhere.

Technology, from the invention of fire to the use of artificial intelligence, has involved changes in the way we relate. This forces us to think about a more holistic vision of leadership, which has nothing to do with telling everyone what they must do but with the ability to train and develop others. Be a mentor in order to guide and accompany others to become better.

I: Daniel, you’re an engineer, an anthropologist, a publicist, son of immigrants and now a Spaniard who lives in Mexico. In which ways has this influenced your proposal on diversity and your work life?

D: I was very fortunate to leave my country. When I arrived in Mexico, I came to live in Saltillo. If I had arrived in Mexico City, I could have kept my Spaniard ways, but in Saltillo, not. You must adapt. Arriving at a new place gives you the possibility to zoom out and see things from a different perspective. Questioning whether things could otherwise lead you to interesting discoveries, which restate what others assume to be true and open the possibility of things being different. For example, within a city, cars have a priority, but nobody ever asks how someone in a wheelchair moves.

On the other hand, replicating the status quo vision turns you blind to a much broader reality. For example, the programming world is still dominated by white, heterosexual men who have no clue what it feels to be bullied. That’s why, when creating new software, this ‘myopia’ can create more problems than solutions.

I: Do you consider that women in leadership positions have an additional responsibility to promote equality?

D: When anyone comes to a new position, they should think: How can I open new opportunities? Not for being a woman, but for tracing a path and leaving a legacy. The higher up, the more careful we must be with those who aren’t in the same place. That is to use the power of decision for good, not only for other women but for all individuals.

This perspective is opposite to the inertia of many workplaces, where you are “invisible until you fuck it up”. Invisible people follow orders and don’t make noise to avoid losing their jobs. That leadership doesn’t make sense in this era.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, is doing a masterful job defending herself against those who throw her into the United States Government. Its context provides a different perspective from which a response arises and becomes visible through symbols and codes that weigh and are part of people’s imagination. Through your position use your voice to manifest and change things.

I: What can we expect from the future, and how can we prepare?

D: There’s a concern about the arrival of automation and artificial intelligence to the work context, but the only thing that a machine can´t take away from you is being creative. The only solution to uncertainty is creativity because that’s where the answers live. Today it’s necessary to embrace uncertainty as a business model.

What machines can’t replace is that uniqueness that differentiates you. That particular vision no one else has. If you exercise your uniqueness, you’ll realize that there’s always someone to listen to you. I’m the only child of immigrant parents. I was an introverted child and always felt out of focus, a misfit. But that’s what made me different and unique.

This is an important difference in order to assemble teams in this time of uncertainty. We increasingly fit into the job descriptions posted by recruiters. A person is interesting because of who he is and the potential he has, not because of the skills he owns. Those can be acquired and learned. The challenge for today’s leaders is to see through a person beyond their profession. This way of recruiting also builds diverse teams.

In order to grow, companies have to feel uncomfortable. They’re still wrapped in several layers of ego. They need to live diversity, ask uncomfortable questions and get to places where they weren’t planning to.

That’s why it’s important to conduct meetings under this perspective, in which together we think how we can change the world. Perhaps together or personally explore things that can be done to live better.

Daniel will impart the talk ‘Four friends who want to change the world’, next January 23rd in Dalia Empower.

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About Daniel Granatta

Daniel Granatta is a futurist who helps different-size companies to “think more and better about the future, making better business decisions in the present”. His current client portfolio includes: Kellogg Co, CENTRO University, A & E Entertainment, NBC Universal, Clowdertank, Segunda Mano, Lady Multitask, Lenovo, Bancolombia & 7-Eleven. In addition, he’s currently the coordinator of the Creativity module of the Internet Business Master of ISDI Mexico.

He worked for many years in advertising agencies such as Grupo W, JWT, where he was Creative General Director, or Flock, where he started a movement that sought a disruptive change in the way of advertising within the Mexican industry, through the intersection of technology and marketing.

In his role as a publicist, Daniel won all the awards in the advertising sector. He’s been sworn unto a lot of festivals. Granatta is also a lecturer, book writer, and columnist in different magazines and blogs. He’s an instructor in universities and schools in Spain, the United States, Colombia, and Mexico.