by Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes, director of research, Tomorrow's Comapny Read the original article here. It is now 25 years since Tiny...
Servants of society – not Masters of the universe. The role of business and finance.
13 October 2015, London. Today, at London’s Guildhall, a series of new reports are published by a network of international experts who looked at the greatest challenges facing global leaders and the skills needed for effective leadership in the modern world. Tomorrow’s Company, the business-led think tank which first introduced the idea that business has a ‘licence to operate’ 20 years ago, is responsible for one of the most challenging of those reports.
Rachel Sylvester, Times columnist, chairs a debate about the reports of the Churchill 2015 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme. Each of seventeen panels has produced a recommendations-focused report for global leaders on a variety of topics, including business and finance, geopolitics, defence, the environment, technology, culture and religion and other topics.
The panel debate includes:
The Business and Finance Panel, in which Olly Rees participated, looked at the leadership qualities needed in business and finance in the 21st Century. Tomorrow’s Company and BlackRock were the lead partners and Harriet Green, who was recently appointed to a new global leadership role at IBM, chaired the panel. The report draws on a set of conversations with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, different types of businesses and across generations to highlight some of the challenges facing leaders and to pose some questions that leaders might ask themselves as part of their own leadership journey. BlackRock hosted the first of three dialogues and was lead partner in the project. The City Corporation and Telos Partners hosted other dialogues in London and Singapore respectively.
The project was led for Tomorrow’s Company by its CEO and Founder Mark Goyder, who commented:
“Is it enough for people running big companies and investment institutions to compete within the rules of the current game? And is it acceptable for them to hide behind the language of ‘shareholder value? No its not. In this project we talked both with senior experienced business leaders and with young millennials. The challenge that came from both of them is clear. Business and finance are servants of society – not masters of the universe. In the spirit of Churchill we offer this challenge to every leader.”
Leaders need to ask: What is my role? Am I a tenant or a steward? Is it enough simply to operate the system under the current rules? Or does C21 leadership mean that I need to be an agent of change? And as an investor, how can I better align finance to the future needs of my clients and the society around them? As a business leader how can I get closer to the needs of tomorrow’s society? As an investor or financier, how can I escape the iron cage of yesterday’s financial logic and think about the needs of tomorrow that today’s finance might serve?
The findings of the Business and Finance Panel included the following key points:
Lord George Robertson said:
“Global leaders today face a complex web of problems and challenges including environmental change; war and terror; mass migration; disruptive new technologies; and less deferential populations. These, and more, are all explored in the papers published today. “
“The Churchill 21st century leadership programme has two core aims: to identify and build a better understanding of the greatest challenges facing the world today; and to equip future generations with the skills required for modern leadership. By such means we will, in Churchill’s words, ‘make this muddled world a better place’. ”
Olly Rees, who is speaking today, has said about the report:
“If you want to attract the best talent, you have to talk about belief. If you want to attract the best talent in the future, you’re going to have to talk about, and have, a mission. The best leaders always have that mission, and it’s the most difficult thing to have in business because a belief is only a belief if it’s costing you money. So can your business afford to have a belief? Because in the short-term it’s really going to cost you quite a lot of money.”
The full report is published collectively as a digital e-book, freely downloadable from:www.churchillcentral.com/News/Churchill-2015/Global-Leadership-Programme-Panel-Reports.html
The separate Business and Finance Panel report will be published shortly.
For all enquiries, please contact:
Yolanda Villafuerte, Delivery and Events Executive, Tomorrow’s Company
4th Floor Samuel House, 6 St Albans Street, London SW1Y 4SQ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7839 4040
Notes to Editors
About Churchill 2015 – 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme
2015 is the fiftieth anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death. To ensure the continuation of his unique legacy, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust establish the Churchill 2015 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme to raise public consciousness and debate around key global issues and to redefine leadership across the spectrum of our 21st century society.
Under the patronage of former UK Prime Minister Sir John Major, business leaders, academics & policy makers discussed the key strategic issues facing tomorrow’s leaders at a series of senior level panel discussions.
About The Business and Finance Panel:
The Business and Finance Panel looked at the leadership qualities needed in business and finance in the 21st Century. The lead partners of the Business and Finance Panel are BlackRock and Tomorrow’s Company, and it was chaired by Harriet Green.
Three roundtables were hosted as part of the panel. The first by BlackRock in London on 21st May 2015; the second by Telos Partners in Singapore on 26th June 2015; and the third dialogue was held on 15th July in the Guildhall, London.
About Tomorrow’s Company
Tomorrow’s Company is a London based global think tank whose purpose is to inspire and enable companies to be a force for good. It focuses in particular on championing a practical agenda for better leadership, governance and investor stewardship.
We defined the inclusive duties of directors for the UK’s Companies Act 2006; our work on financial markets informed the creation of the UN PRI; our thought leadership is at the heart of the UK Stewardship Code and of the integrated reporting movement; King III in South Africa acknowledges our influence. Our work aims to restore the licence for business to operate and for businesses to be successful tomorrow.
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