Sir Stuart Rose new Ocado Chair and former CEO of Marks & Spencer outlines the changing role of global leaders in response to Leadership in a Rapidly Changing World: How Business Leaders are Reframing Success a report produced by Ashridge Business School and the International Business Leaders Forum.
A generation ago the prevailing attitude was that it was the role of political leaders to address the big societal issues of the day and definitely not the role of business leaders. For them to take on such concerns would only be a distraction and source of cost.
Fast forward to today’s generation of business leaders and a very different attitude being expressed: that it is essentialfor senior executives both to have a nuanced understanding of the major forces shaping our world and to know where and how to respond for the good of their organisation and for society as a whole.
Today’s global business leaders are adopting a different perspective on their role and purpose.
Top executives are increasingly aligning their core business to serve not just direct customers but also the interests of wider society. The research identifies examples where there is genuine commitment to ethics and sustainability and where addressing major societal challenges go hand-in-hand with successful business practice. Growing numbers see the pursuit of business growth that is ‘smart’ ‘inclusive’ and ‘responsible’ as fundamental to creating long-term value.