In 2017, Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook tweeted to then-President Donald Trump, urging him to reconsider his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military. Cook said the ban was "discriminatory and harmful" and would "undermine the values of our country."

LGBTQ+ advocates and allies widely praised Cook's willingness to publicly speak out. It also drew criticism from some conservatives, who accused Cook of using his platform to push a political agenda.

The general public has noticed a trend of business leaders becoming politically engaged. In a recent Gallup poll, only 23% of U.S. employees agree that they trust their organization's leadership. The public's trust in major corporations isn't much better.

Top leaders oversee companies that employ hundreds of thousands worldwide. They can no longer rely on old-style hierarchical management techniques that are increasingly ineffective. They have to manage technology as both a huge threat and an opportunity. And many are being pushed by employees, investors, and opinion makers to speak out and engage on social issues—even if it comes at a substantial cost.

Some of the most challenging dilemmas facing businesses and how C.E.O.s are navigating them include:

  • How to engage with governments in an age of rising populism and tense geopolitics?
  • How to navigate the climate crisis without becoming a political target?
  • How can artificial intelligence be integrated to benefit both the company and its employees?
  • How do employees get back to the office productively and enjoyably?

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