Change-minded leaders are able to stay ahead with innovation and sustainability — whether business transformation is planned or forced. This new series explores how.

ING lead article

Summary List Placement
The events of 2020 have radically redefined “transformation” — making innovative leadership more important than ever.
An ability to embrace change is a critical leadership criteria, so ING seeks to highlight global leaders making sustainable change in their companies, industries and beyond.
This article is the first in the Changemakers’ Playbook series of profiles and reports on ways leaders across industries are transforming their businesses with innovation and sustainability.

The speed and frequency at which businesses must innovate and transform has increased so much that a comfort level with near-constant change is practically a litmus test for 21st-century business leadership.

But, as the disruptions of 2020 have shown, even leaders who have successfully presided over major change in their organizations are forced to reexamine what change means when it’s dictated by world events, rather than being carried out according to a strategic plan.

Though it may take years to fully realize the full effect of COVID-19 on the global economy, it’s possible to already now draw leadership lessons from the ways in which companies were forced to respond in real-time and the new sustainable ways in which they are planning to rebuild, says Isabel Fernandez, global head of wholesale banking for ING.

“We often think of the pathway to innovation as thinking big, starting small, and scaling fast,” Fernandez says. “COVID-19 didn’t change the nature of leadership, sustainability, or innovation; it only compressed timelines and raised the stakes.

“This pandemic is forcing us to put out today’s fires while giving us an unprecedented opportunity to make new choices in addressing yesterday’s problems that continue to pose a risk to our tomorrow — climate change, loss of biodiversity, human rights, to name a few,” Fernandez says. “The world has an opportunity to rebuild better, and needs strong, inspired, innovative, and change-oriented leaders to do that.”

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The 2020 Future of Leadership Global Executive Study and Research Project, released by MITSloane, points to the disconnect between the need for change-oriented leaders and the ready supply of such leaders. Among survey respondents, 82% said companies needed transformation-minded management. But only 40% believed leadership pipelines were in place to deliver on the need for executives capable of overseeing major change.

The takeaway is clear: It’s more important than ever for those aspiring leaders to have a playbook for navigating both unplanned business disruptions and intentional, strategic, and sustainable change.

This is why ING has created Changemakers’ Playbook, a series of articles providing leadership guidance from industry-specific perspectives.

ING has identified three industry sectors as holding special potential for leading the way toward a new view of sustainable business practices — one where sustainability is not seen through the lens of cost-cutting but rather new-revenue generation. These are transportation/logistics, food/agriculture, and energy.

This collection of industries is always important for both economies and public life, but the COVID-19 response has only intensified their role on the global stage. Pandemic-related delays and supply-chain breakdowns in worldwide transportation and logistics demonstrate the need for studying …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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