Leaders are constantly faced with making difficult decisions. The best ones don’t shy away from the best or the right ones simply because they pose challenges.
There’s another piece to this that is often supplanted by aphoristic blubber: Leaders cannot be expected to make reasonable decisions at all unless they’re well-informed — not just about their industry or business, but about society. With sway over employees coming from countless corners of society — and the burden to motivate and inspire — they carry the responsibility of understanding what goes on in vast stretches of our world.
Staying informed is not easy. It requires commitment to following the right news outlets and journalism sources so you can collect critical facts. It requires daily reading and constant analysis. But with facts grounding you, you can make educated decisions — however hard they may be.
I’ve collected these names to make staying informed a little less onerous. These titles, chosen because of tenure and reputation, are my own recommendations. My hope is that they provide well-rounded insight — as they have long done for me.
The Times has been shaping opinion in the U.S. since 1851. Things have changed a lot over the years, but it has a pedigree that is particularly useful to leaders who need broad knowledge about news across the world. First, it has a history of speaking truth to power — dating all the way back to the NYC Tweed Ring mess of the 1870s. Second, it has a throughline of robust international reporting, once serving as publisher of the respected International Herald Tribune. Lastly (and more immediately relevant), it’s consistently ranked as one of the best newspapers in the U.S.
There will be plenty who argue with me on this. Other big names, like CNET and Engadget, are perhaps more popular, but The Verge is ideal for two reasons: Articles are generally short and to-the-point, which most busy business leaders need; and the intersection of tech, politics, business, and culture is regularly at play — without getting too academic or cerebral. This intersection is key to understanding the impact of technology changes in the workplace.
For business and general culture: The Conversation
With its deft interweaving of politics, business, and the economy — and sociological observation underpinning just about every article — The Conversation is one of my favorites for getting a sense of business beyond the numbers. Many of the contributors are academics, though business vets and longstanding journalists help hone the messaging. What’s more, it’s nonprofit and independent, which opens the door for more honest headlines.
For actionable business guidance: Inc
No, Inc did not ask me to include this in my list. And yes, there are other business-specific sources (Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.) out there. I chose Inc because its remit is specifically to craft actionable guidance for business leaders. Columnists are tasked with doing one thing and doing it well: Highlight a timely or relevant business topic and give decision-makers the tools needed to act on it in an impactful way.
This isn’t what I would call a “typical” news outlet, but as human resources takes center stage in a world fraught with pandemic woes and constant change, it’s important to understand how people management is shifting, too. What are best practices? What are the implications of policy changes? How do you keep employees engaged? These are central to the news and insights of SHRM.
Did I miss a title you lean on or prefer? Let me know on Twitter @in_the_write — I’ll add it to the list of outlets I’m alright scouring.