WEF 2020: Youth voices say a new approach needed to make 2020s a successful decade

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Published: January 20, 2020 6:31:27 PM

As organisations put sustainability and equitability at the centre of their organisations, they will need a broader range of leadership skills and attributes, the WEF said in the paper.

"The climate emergency, social inequality and economic fragility threaten human wellbeing like never before," said Adrian Monck, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum. (Website image)“The climate emergency, social inequality and economic fragility threaten human wellbeing like never before,” said Adrian Monck, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum. (Website image)

Today’s youth feels a new leadership and a new approach is required to make 2020s a ‘decade of deliveries’, according to a new white paper released here to kick off the 50th WEF annual meeting.

The white paper surveying 5,000 people, including youth and chief executive officers, has identified five elements at the heart of responsible leadership.

As organisations put sustainability and equitability at the centre of their organisations, they will need a broader range of leadership skills and attributes, the WEF said in the paper.

It said the 2020s have been declared the “decade of delivery” for the society to come together and tackle the challenges ahead, but to succeed in this new era requires a new kind of leadership and a fresh approach.

While some organisations are further along in creating an environment in which trust, innovation and strong organisational performance reinforce each other, those that do not may be left behind.

The report, carried out in collaboration with Accenture, said organisations need a new compass to help them develop and scale up responsible leadership.

First, leaders must deliver daily organisational performance. Secondly, leaders must embrace continuous innovation to unlock new value for the long term. Thirdly, leaders must earn and build stakeholder trust through sustainable and responsible approaches, meeting increasingly vocal expectations for social and environmental progress.

Companies that achieve all three priorities also appear to stand apart by how they lead and their top teams exhibit diverse and sometimes unfamiliar leadership qualities, the report said.

“The climate emergency, social inequality and economic fragility threaten human wellbeing like never before,” said Adrian Monck, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum.

“We need an era of stakeholder capitalism in which companies combine entrepreneurialism with an ultimate purpose, working with other stakeholders to improve the state of the world in which they do business.

“The good news is that the next generation aspires to develop the broad range of leadership skills and attributes that are required in the 2020s,” he said.

The study found that companies in the top 20 per cent of their industry on sustainability and stakeholder trust, innovation, and financial performance, which the report refers to as “Triple High Performers”, have leaders who disproportionally display the five elements of responsible leadership.

According to the report, the findings suggest that only stakeholder-centric business models can unlock the full power of innovation to elevate organisational performance and drive societal progress.

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