DISCUSSION 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme: Business and Finance Panel

by Yolanda Villafuerte _______16th July 2015

On Wednesday 15th July 2015, the draft report of the Churchill 2015 Business and Finance Panel was reviewed by a group of business leaders who took part in a breakfast roundtable held at the Guildhall. The roundtable was hosted by the City of London Corporation and Tomorrow’s Company, partners on the Business & Finance Panel ofChurchill 2015 – 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme. This final roundtable discussed the draft report which has been formulated as a result of the first and second roundtables held at BlackRock and in Singapore.

The ideas and conclusions from the Business and Finance report will form part of a larger report, which will be published online in autumn 2015. Seventeen panels will each produce a 15 page recommendations-focused report for global leaders. They will be published collectively in a digital book that will be downloadable free to all.

The group of business and finance leaders reviewed and discussed the draft of the Business and Finance Panel report, particularly with regard to two main questions: What is missing? And what would you change? We received some very helpful feedback which will be used to feed into the final version of the report.

The aim of the report is to reflect the spirit of these three unusual dialogues and use it to prompt reflection towards how leadership needs to be different in the new circumstances of the 21st Century. It includes questions in order to enable each reader to ask themselves which parts may apply to them rather than imposing an unconvincing template.

During the discussion, it became clear that there is a growing expectation on leaders in large organisations to play this more proactive role and the debate suggested that we should be clear in spelling out this expectation, not on the basis of obligation but enlightened self-interest.

In addition, there was a clear and interesting divide in the room between some who wanted to see leadership starting with tone from the top but being distributed throughout an organisation, and leadership being about creating a climate in which many could be entrepreneurial, and a group who would like to reassert the idea of the strong individual at the top imposing their will. This raised the question whether there is a generational divide or just a philosophical divide.

There was a very articulate group in their twenties who used the opportunity to say how they see the world. They found that some of their current leaders are remote and unable to engage with them, and disappointingly poor in the use of technology.

The roundtable discussion confirmed us in Tomorrow’s Company in the view that there is an important task ahead to engage more deeply with the emerging generation in ways which enables them to see how they can in their mainstream jobs in business and finance truly make a difference without necessarily being a CEO.

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