Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Former Google People Chief Laszlo Bock On 3 Critical Skills Future CEOs Will Need

Laszlo Bock, CEO of Humu

Few people have had as much influence over the intersection of technology and leadership as Laszlo Bock, who led “people operations” at Google for a decade, helping to create one of the legendary corporate cultures in business history.

Bock left Google just over a year ago to launch a tech startup called Humu, focused on using technology and behavioral science to make work, and life, better. In an interview with Chief Executive earlier this year, he shared his top three insights into what CEOs will need to lead tomorrow’s workforce:

Authenticity. “By that, I just mean dealing in truth rather than, ‘Here’s what my gut says every time.’ I don’t mean replacing good leadership. I mean actually dealing in truth. Because of social media, because of websites like Glassdoor, it’s really easy for disgruntled employees as well as happy employees to make very public what they think about leadership. That means it’s harder to be a leader because if you’re faking it, the truth will come out.”

Join Laszlo Bock and others at the Healthcare CEO Summit, held at the world-famous Cleveland Clinic on October 21. Register here.

Expertise in Digital. “In the digital world, everybody has a certain expectation of what using technology should feel like that’s driven by the consumer experience. In Spotify, you can make custom playlists; Amazon recommends products to you. Not only do they seem to know you, but they actually then give you recommendations that are helpful. On top of that, the interaction is pleasant.

“Compare that to what technology is like in most companies, particularly small and medium-size companies. What your employees expect is an experience that’s just as smooth and silky as a consumer product. So, offering your employees a digital experience of what it’s like to work for you that feels as nice and intimate as your personal consumer technology is increasingly important. In 10 years, it will be essential.”

A Scientific, Fact-Based Approach. “The truth is most people are kind of average at management. There’s science around how to be a better leader. I once got into a debate with Jack Welch about this. He was visiting and he’d read my book and he said the one thing he didn’t agree with me on was a chapter called ‘Don’t Trust Your Gut.’ He said, ‘You absolutely have to trust your gut.’

“What I allowed was that if you’re Jack Welch, that’s fine. If you’re Steve Jobs, absolutely trust your gut. Most of us are not. We’re going to want to hire people we like, who went to the same schools, who played on the same teams, who follow the same sports and who dress like us. That’s the wrong thing to do. You should hire people because of their potential and because of a thoughtful, objective assessment of what they will add to your organization.”


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.