World congress call for greater flexibility and action on climate change

Responsible leadership requires a change of gear and shift of focus
Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas
Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas
PETERBOROUGH, U.K. - March 10, 2019 - PRLog -- Business leaders are in danger of being regarded by their children and writers of their obituaries as self-absorbed talkers and complacent ditherers if they do not act on climate change according to Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas. Speaking at the World Congress on Leadership for Business Excellence and Innovation, the author of Winning Companies; Winning People pointed out: "Recently thousands of children walked out of school to campaign for action to address climate change. The consequences of our inaction will really bite in their lifetimes. Why are we trashing their futures? Leadership should be concerned with giving a lead and providing direction."

The Adaptation chairman finds: "Some boardrooms seem like bunkers in which people hunker down and hope for the best as storms of change and opportunity rage outside. Some directors who rarely meet customers and investors defend their inaction by saying the timing is not right or that stakeholders are not yet ready. With climate change, if we wait for other people to catch up we may condemn our children and grand-children to a future of scavenging in dumps of our rubbish while dealing with extreme weather events."

Coulson-Thomas also finds: "Too many boards interpret building a resilient business as ensuring the survival of current activities rather than creating a more sustainable business model. They view certain technologies as disruptive of existing approaches rather than as enablers of new possibilities. They react rather than initiate and become victims rather than beneficiaries. They also lack a systems perspective and do not see the interconnectedness of events."

The professors investigations reveal: "Transformational leadership is more often mentioned than effectively practiced. It implies transformation from one state to another, during which requirements, situations and priorities can change. Restructuring, re-engineering and transformation can be lucrative for those who advocate them and are hired to pursue them, but as I have set out in a series of reports there are more affordable, quicker and less disruptive routes to high performance organisations."

Coulson-Thomas explained; "Before restructuring, re-engineering or transformation can be completed, original goals may already be out of date. More flexible, imaginative and relevant strategies are required such as reinvention, intelligent adaptation or the adoption of a new model of organisation and operation such as the flexible network organisations I have advocated for over 25 years. They can expand and contract, evolve and grow organically as required. Leadership needs to span boundaries and such networks of relationships to facilitate collective responses."

The professor finds: "Innovation is also more talked about than actively embraced. The risk aversion of many boards, their desire to protect existing positions and practices, and their fear of uncertainties associated with genuine innovation result in them becoming obstacles to change. The Managing Intellectual Capital to Grow Shareholder Value investigation I led revealed that many areas of intellectual property with the biggest potential were not being managed. Some companies could be many times larger and more valuable, if their IP was exploited by licensing, franchising or a different business model. They are held back by the lack of imagination of their directors."

Coulson-Thomas believes: "Agility is an issue because many organisational and board structures, strategies and practices are inflexible. Unexpected events happen, yet many boards remain tied to monthly meetings and annual calendars of business. They use a cycle of strategy analysis, formulation and implementation that does not reflect the reality of the contemporary business environment. Many financial measures of performance overlook missed opportunities or the exponentially rising future cost of the consequences of delays. Responsible and transformational leadership requires a change of gear and a shift of focus to the innovations we need to address certain challenges that threaten to overwhelm us and create and seize opportunities to build a sustainable future."

The professor was speaking on transformational leadership for an agile and innovative corporate strategy at the 29th World Congress on Leadership for Business Excellence and Innovation which was held at the Hotel Habtoor Palace, Dubai (UAE).  Prof. (Dr) Colin Coulson-Thomas, Adaptation chairman, President of the Institute of Management Services and leader of the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus, has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. An experienced chairman of award winning companies and vision holder of successful transformation programmes, he is the author of over 60 books and reports and has held public appointments at local, regional and national level and professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. Details of books and reports summarizing his investigations can be found on:

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