Davos, Switzerland, 20 January 2020 – The 2020s have been declared the “decade of delivery” for society to come together and tackle the challenges ahead. To succeed in this new era requires a new kind of leadership and a fresh approach.
While some organizations are further along in creating an environment in which trust, innovation and strong organizational performance reinforce each other, those that do not may be left behind.
The report, carried out in collaboration with Accenture, offers organizations a new compass to help them develop and scale up responsible leadership. Three overarching priorities are spotlighted. First, leaders must deliver daily organizational performance. Secondly, leaders much 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. Their top teams exhibit diverse and sometimes unfamiliar leadership qualities. To name just a few: continuous learning backed by data; a stakeholder mindset anchored in compassion; a technology vision reinforced by creativity; generous humility, and listening to intuition. We classify these and others into Five Elements – qualities that leadership teams will need to navigate the decade ahead:
Stakeholder Inclusion: The ability to stand in the
shoes of all stakeholders and make the organization responsive to them
Emotion and Intuition: An instinctive and authentic
willingness to bring the whole self to work and encourage this in others,
unlocking the power of creativity and imagination
Mission and Purpose: The confidence to create and
inspire a shared long-term vision for the organization and its
Technology and Innovation: A passion to innovate and learn
using new technologies to unlock organizational and societal value
Intellect and Insight: A voracious appetite to learn
continuously and to reach decisions based on facts, data and objective
“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
“The assumptions that have long underpinned the nature of leadership are being
shattered by growing demands for socio-economic and environmental progress,”
said Ellyn Shook,
Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer at Accenture. “A new generation is
redefining leadership to drive sustainable growth and prosperity for all. They
know that leading with purpose, innovation and accountability – rooted in
evidence and compassion – must become second nature. Our collaboration with the
Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers will accelerate the development
of responsible leadership capabilities among some of the world’s most
Specifically, the study found that companies in the top 20% 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
organizational performance and drive societal progress.
About the Annual Meeting
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 will take place on 21-24 January
2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The meeting brings together more than
3,000 global leaders from politics, government, civil society, academia, the
arts and culture as well as the media. Convening under the theme, Stakeholders for a Cohesive and
Sustainable World, participants will focus on defining new models
for building sustainable and inclusive societies in a plurilateral world. For
further information, please click here.