In today’s challenging times, there are plenty of opportunities for businesses—and people—to shine as responsible leaders.
A new generation of leaders is putting responsible leadership at the heart of operating models in order to address the decade’s societal challenges.
It takes bold action to drive real change, and we’re putting ourselves at the top of the list of organizations striving to make the world a better place for our people, our clients and our communities.
A new generation of responsible leaders
Purpose is just as important as performance.
Last year at Davos, we launched the Responsible Leadership program with WEF’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers communities and published a research report titled “Seeking Responsible Leadership.” We found that 61% of emerging leaders believe it’s no longer enough to do business for the sake of business; leaders want to also have a positive impact on society.
And it’s not just emerging leaders who are championing change.
We surveyed 30,000 young people at various stages of their careers and asked what their most important criteria is, after salary, when considering a new job. More than 40% reported an employer’s sense of purpose or impact on society as the second-most important factor.
There is a real appetite for finding new ways to help solve the world’s most immediate problems while unleashing new waves of sustainable and equitable growth. This year, we extended this work and talked to young leaders to find out how they demonstrate responsible leadership. We learned that these leaders are “living” it in really interesting ways, putting equity, diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything they do.
“A new generation of leaders has put equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of their organizations. By exemplifying responsible leadership, they are showing how to create value while leading with values.”
— Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Accenture
Growing and giving back
Increasing pressure on our climate. A fragile global economy. The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These are just some of the challenges that businesses face, our research reveals.
It’s not only possible to drive profitable growth while being a good corporate citizen—it’s essential. Businesses who strike a balance between organizational performance, continuous innovation and sustainability and trust will be better positioned for success.
The good news is that leaders agree. Seventy-two percent of CEOs we surveyed say gaining people’s trust will be critical to their competitiveness in the next five years.
The winning formula
Young leaders around the world are challenging leadership norms, bringing their own diverse experiences and backgrounds to shape and inform how they lead responsibly through these exceptionally challenging times. By exemplifying responsible leadership they show how they apply the five elements of responsible leadership that will be required from leaders to accelerate growth while improving societal outcomes:
- Stakeholder Inclusion – Safeguarding trust and positive impact for all by standing in the shoes of diverse stakeholders when making decisions and fostering an inclusive environment in which diverse individuals have a voice and feel they belong.
- Emotion & Intuition – Unlocking commitment and creativity by being truly human, showing compassion, humility and openness.
- Mission & Purpose – Advancing common goals by inspiring a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organization and its stakeholders.
- Technology & Innovation – Creating new organizational and societal value by innovating responsibly with emerging technology.
- Intellect & Insight – Finding ever-improved paths to success by embracing continuous learning and knowledge exchange.
Taking bold action
This is truly the decade to deliver, and we’ve set some bold and ambitious goals to hold ourselves accountable in our journey to build a future of shared success.
- Sustainability: With a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2025 and move to zero waste, as well as plans to reduce water-related risks to our business and people, we’re taking our commitment to sustainability to the next level.
- Community impact: By harnessing the power of technology and innovation, we’re able to support our people and communities through programs such as Skills to Succeed, Accenture Development Partnerships and Social Innovators.
- Inclusion and diversity: We’re taking action against intolerance and inequality, cultivating a culture of equality and inclusivity for all.
The actions we’re taking—and the people who are making them happen—are why we’ve once again made it onto FORTUNE’s World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 19th consecutive year, and No. 1 for social responsibility acts.
Join us, and transform the future of business—and the world—with the work you do every day.