Sustainability is increasingly important, but it is not one of the factors in choosing leaders for their positions.
That’s according to a study by management consultancy firm Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA), conducted in conjunction with the United Nations Global Compact. The results were presented by Clark Murphy, chief executive of the RRA, during the 20th World Forum of the UN Global Compact.
The experts concluded after analyzing more than 4,000 requirements for the appointment of directors and board members of companies. They note that 15% of the specifications were related to sustainability, and in only 4% of jobs sustainable experience or sustainable thinking was a requirement. “Many companies describe their efforts for sustainable development, but few describe the sustainable leader and the requirements for his appointment,” Murphy said.
The study raises the question of how organizations can implement sustainability at the core of their leadership teams. In the process of analysis, experts note that there are three ways to achieve sustainable leadership.
Born Believers – develop an interest in environmental and social issues from an early age
The Convinced – for them the strategic importance of sustainability arises in their professional development
The Awoken – A key event in realizing the importance of sustainability is a major event or experience in their lives.
About half of the leaders are from the group of “born believers”. “This tells us that there are many more resilient leaders than you think. We must seize the opportunity to identify and develop them. “It’s the most powerful lever in a decade of action,” said Clark Murphy.
What makes a leader sustainable?
This type of manager combines two main qualities:
Sustainable thinking – the purposeful belief that business is not a commercial activity isolated from the wider social and environmental context in which it operates
Sustainable set of 4 basic skills – multi-level systems of thinking, involvement of stakeholders in business, “disruptive” innovations, and long-term activations
Three leaders also commented on the topic. One of them was Jim Snabe, a member of the Board of Directors of Siemens AG and Maersk. “Successful leaders have dreams and are more interested in the relevant details that make the necessary change. Dreams are important to inspire people for a better future. You have to be ambitious. I think others should follow you, otherwise, you do not lead. I also think that attention to detail is very important … so that the dream does not remain just a dream, but is implemented, “he said.
“I believe that these leaders must have the courage to transform, not only a gradual one, with some adjustments, but one that requires innovation and big steps in the unknown,” said Lisa Congo, CEO of The UN Global Compact.
“I think that people with the right mindset, if we can train them, give them knowledge, connections and vision, then they will be able to make this transformation,” added Ilian Mihov, Dean of the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD). . “We still lack knowledge, there is still a lack of understanding of how to create new business models in certain areas, how to measure the relationship between risk, return and impact,” he added.
According to him, students need to be taught how to implement knowledge from one company to another so that business can help itself.