Spurred on by advancements in technology – life changes are far-reaching and occurring at an ever-increasing pace. Dramatic transitions are taking place in our major organizing systems — environment, economic, social, geo-politics and organization. The immense impact caused by all of the world’s systems, changing and colliding at the same time has spawned the rise of leaders – who are re-designing their companies and transforming their industries in ways that move us all toward a thriving, just, and sustainable future.
Many business leaders are seeing this time in human civilization as the grand and necessary opportunity to change the course of history.
Immense challenges in the world’s organizing systems are fostering breakthroughs in business leadership
Vanguard organizations are building visions, cultures and competencies to produce uncanny innovation, uncommon collaborations and unprecedented results. Environmental challenges alone have provoked the reinvention of entirely new products, operating practices and mindsets at work. Social change has forced many companies to face vastly different consumer behavior and stakeholder demand.
In each of the organizing systems below there’s a glimpse into the challenges we face and striking examples of business leaders demonstrating what’s possible.
Scientists from NASA, far from environmental extremists, point to a dramatically destabilizing planetary environment.
A paper published in the Journal of Science by 18 renowned scientists from around the globe contends that 4 of the 9 safe planetary boundaries have been crossed:
- Ocean Pollution
- Carbon in the Atmosphere
- Species Extinction
Leaders are mixed in whether science is right about Climate Change but most agree that, if science is right, this poses a great risk to the future of our planet and children.
Businesses are affected by the unstable condition of many local and national economies and the global economy, in general.
- Many economies are fragile and in debt
- A breakdown in a single economy causes negative impact in global financial markets
- Tough economic conditions combined with the increase in population and jobs being replaced by technology, inhibits employment growth
- In the US, while unemployment has declined in recent years it hasn’t translated into income. The median family income has continued to decline since 2000, highlighting the need for more higher-wage jobs
60 of the largest global companies are working with Ceres to demonstrate how solving our biggest global challenges is improving their economic well being and creating employment opportunities.
A business world of unfamiliar and exponentially accelerating change:
- Proven predictive models fail to capture future trends
- Incremental change and continuous improvement can hinder breakthrough innovation
- Familiar management and governance models are becoming obsolete
- Emulating “best practices” limits business discovery
Short term financial focus has eroded consumer and employee trust:
- Greater demands for socially responsible behavior from expanded stakeholder group
- Difficulty in maintaining high morale, loyalty and productivity
- New metrics are needed to satisfy growing stakeholder demand for financial performance and social/environmental impact
Organizations like Conscious Capitalism and HIP Investor are working with many leading corporations (Whole Foods, Intel, Campbell’s Soup, GE, Unilever, PepsiCo) to show that doing good for the greater world can lead to the creation of new markets, innovative products, boosted revenue, lower costs and ultimately, greater profitability.