HOW Conversations

The HOW Conversations video series brings together a varied group of experts and leaders to discuss timely issues of our reshaped world through the lenses of moral leadership, principled decision-making, and value-based behavior.

Moral Leaders Are Honest With Themselves First

“One of the things that I think is important to any moral leader is the ability to do self-reflection and be honest with yourself,” says retired Chief Master Sergeant Kaleth O. Wright. Kaleth was the highest-ranking enlisted man in the Air Force when he retired last year and is now the CEO of the Air Force Aid Society. He spoke with Dana Born, HOW Institute Fellow, about how his moral leadership journey led him to post a heartfelt essay on Twitter after the death of George Floyd. In the post Kaleth called upon himself to, “do better in ensuring every Airman in our ranks has a fair chance at becoming the best version of themselves,” and took responsibility for not doing more. Watch the full episode to learn why Kaleth wrote the essay and why he believes moral leaders need to be both courageous and vulnerable.

Moral Leaders Value and Commit to a Shared Purpose

Retired General Stanley McChrystal stresses that moral leaders must have a strong sense of purpose and must be willing to put personal desires aside to achieve shared goals. “Things only matter if they link to a purpose that we’ve all looked at and we’ve all accepted, and we are committed to. As a leader I have to keep pointing where we want to be going,” Stan told Dana Born, HOW Institute Fellow on this episode of HOW Conversations. Stan and Dana also spoke about leadership built on values and the importance of active citizenship.

We Must Rethink What Leadership Means in a Post-COVID World

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation thinks “we’re never going back to life as it was in January 2020.” Darren, who is also a member of The HOW Institute’s Board of Directors, spoke with Dov Seidman on this episode of HOW Conversations. Darren says that in the post-COVID world, “moral leaders see themselves as part of something bigger than themselves.” And he believes that to meet the challenges of our post-COVID world, moral leaders will need a new set of skills including, “empathy, compassion, humility, curiosity, and grace.”

Moral Leadership Is Hard and it Is Lonely, But It Matters

Retired Air Force General David Goldfein says, “The higher you go in rank and responsibility the harder the decisions are, and they should be.” Dave spoke with HOW Institute Fellow, Dana Born, in the latest episode of HOW Conversations and he tells Dana he’s learned it can be lonely at the top because when it comes to making tough decisions, “some number of people are not going to like the direction you take, and so don’t take the happy road, take the right road.” Hear more from Dave Goldfein about why it is important to have a diverse team around you and why leadership is a privilege.

Moral Leaders Treat Everyone with Dignity and Respect

Lt. General Nadja West, the recently retired Army’s top doctor, knows what it takes to be a successful moral leader. She was one of the first women to graduate from West Point and went on to earn a medical degree. Lt. Gen. West spent 37 years in the military rising to become a three-star general and the first black Surgeon General of the U.S. Army. In this episode of HOW Conversations, Lt. Gen. West spoke with Dana Born, HOW Fellow, about the importance of leading with dignity and respect, taking the time to be empathetic, and remembering your humility.

Moral Leaders Are Truth Tellers and Trust Builders

Admiral William H. McRaven advises leaders to ask themselves three questions before making tough decisions: is it moral, is it legal and is it ethical? “There are no perfect moral leaders,” but that shouldn’t stop leaders from working hard to be as moral as possible, says McRaven. The former Navy SEAL, Director of U.S. Special Operations Command and retired Navy Admiral spoke with Dana Born, HOW Fellow for this episode of HOW Conversations.

Moral Leaders Are Dealers in Hope

Admiral James Stavridis says when leaders set positive goals and visions people will stand and deliver—leaders need to be “dealers of hope.”   Admiral Stavridis is a member of the board of The HOW Institute and an Operating Executive at the Carlyle Group.  He spoke with HOW Fellow, Brigadier General Dana Born, in the first of a series of special HOW Conversations with military leaders.  Watch the full episode with Admiral Stavridis to learn more about the difference between leadership and character and which books every moral leader should read.

CEO Chip Bergh Admits Levi Strauss has a Diversity Problem but He’s Got a Plan to Fix It

On this episode of HOW Conversations, the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. Chip Bergh tells Dov Seidman how difficult it was to learn only about 3% of Levi’s leadership management are black. And how he’s leading the plan to fix the problem. ‘A diverse organization at all levels will outperform a homogenous one every single time’ Chip tells Dov. They also discuss the hard choice Chip had to make to lay off staff during the crises and what Chip learned about leadership from the Army.

Moral Leadership Is Now a Survival Skill

Dov Seidman and Nancy Gibbs, Lombard Director of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard Kennedy School and a HOW Institute Board member, have a wide-ranging conversation that touches on the many reasons that in this extraordinary moment where we, collectively, are facing so many simultaneous crises, moral leadership has evolved from a worthy pursuit to a critical survival skill for the future of society and humanity.