There were so many valuable take aways from AFP 2019, but one of the highlights of the show was the closing keynote delivered by Fareed Zakaria GPS, host of CNN’s Worldwide. His presentation, titled Navigating the Forces of Global Disruption, focused on the different factors affecting business on a global scale and how to prepare for what’s coming. As Zakaria said, “We are in a moment of great transition.” By their reaction, it was obvious this resonated with the standing room only audience, who had been attending numerous sessions over the last few days focused on the future of payments, emerging technologies and changes in the global regulatory landscape.
Perhaps the most helpful piece of advice to come out of the presentation resulted from a question in the Q&A session following the keynote: How, in such a rapidly shifting world, can treasury and financial professionals educate themselves to prepare for the future?
Zakaria replied that the greatest challenge in today’s world is to figure out how to navigate the flood of information that’s available 24×7. His recommendation is to find a way to resist the instant gratification of checking phones for the latest news blub and “develop a filter that gives you a hierarchy of information.”
He went on to explain, “The people who succeed in life are the ones who will be able to do that and have the discipline to do that and the capacity to build those filters. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that somehow, magically, if you’re spending all your time on your phone that you’re going to be an expert in any area…what hasn’t changed even with all this technology is that you actually have to know something to be good at the job. And the only way to really know something is to go deep. And the only way you can go deep is to acquire knowledge in a fairly old fashioned way. You have to read stuff, you have to pay attention, and you have to focus.”
AFP 2019 was certainly an opportunity for attendees to do just that.
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