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Leaders, Strategists and Sustainability; Three Words, One Common Denominator: People

09.02.2017 Share

The theme for the World Economic Forum in 2017 is “Responsible and Responsive Leadership.”

This encapsulates in just two words the actions that leadership in every organization is called upon to engage in, as there is an ever-tighter connection between how an organization envisages its role in society and its responsibility in having a long-term view on sustainable corporate performance. This year’s choice is a poignant one; one that affirms the urgency for organizations to have a vision, inspired leadership and for a corporate culture that promotes and embraces changes.

Leadership and its importance to an organization is not a new theme, concept or something that has not been previously discussed in great detail, depth and expanse.

Strategy, though some may find it now hard to contemplate, has not always been at the forefront of management’s priorities. It is a cliché but the everyday running of an organization and the crisis management that takes place—now it seems on a constant basis—absorbs energy and drains creative thinking. Thankfully, strategy is now beginning to become an issue that senior leadership is dedicating much more time to and are now the ones that shape, develop and monitor strategic plans for sustainable growth.

Finally, sustainability. The “it” word for the last few years. A term that has evolved from its “humble” beginnings as a new fad for marketing or HR to dabble in for a few green actions, to now being the “mother” word for corporate survival in an exponentially changing world.

We are currently in the midst of a 4th industrial revolution, one that is transforming and disrupting and about to affect all aspects of both our business and personal lives as we know it, or indeed have learned to know in the past few years.

Responsive leadership must recognize these cataclysmic changes, the effect and the aftermath they have on society and ultimately the people who work in their organizations, the suppliers they do business with and the communities they interact in.

Successful leadership, for me, is one that recognizes these changes and the effects they bring and, more importantly, recognizes their potential, harnesses their power and makes them work to their advantage for sustainable growth. It is leadership that cultivates a culture of both innovation and entrepreneurship in the organization, where their people are alert and willing to take risks, to try out things. It is one that has an attitude of “can do” and can do differently, by being aware of what is out there in the market place and then owning it…to tailor it, adapt it and make it work for them.

And above all, it is leadership that gives people space to be …disruptive… and bold with a passion!