In recent decades, businesses have leveraged connectivity-enabled technological advances and the expanding size of global markets to grow by leaps and bounds. At the same time, rising socio-political strife, severe resource inequality and massive environmental degradation are straining planet Earth's resources and threatening humanity's survival. Businesses in the 21st century must drive profitable growth by addressing these existential challenges to do well by doing good to ensure long-term success. But is that possible?
The answer lies in replacing singular shareholder-centricity with a stewardship approach to business leadership and governance. Stewardship is creating value by integrating the needs of stakeholders, society, future generations and the environment. Importantly, this approach requires genuine intent and persistence to create a collective better future, and Steward Leadership is a vital enabler.
Steward Leadership is the genuine desire and persistence to create a collective better future.
What we advocate: Steward Leadership
Stewardship is creating value by integrating the needs of stakeholders, society, future generations and the environment. Sustainability, ESG considerations and responsible investing are forms of stewardship.
Stewardship is brought to life through Steward Leadership, which is the genuine desire and persistence to create a collective better future. It involves taking the following steps to activate your Steward Leadership Compass©:
1) Integrate the following four stewardship values with your personal and organisational values:
- Interdependence: View the world as an interconnected system in which your success depends on the success of others.
- Long-term View: Create sustained value for both current and future generations.
- Ownership Mentality: Take proactive responsibility to make stewardship happen.
- Creative Resilience: Develop tenacity to find innovative solutions to disruptive challenges.
2) Based on these values, articulate your stewardship purpose to create a collective better future for a variety of stakeholders, society, future generations and the environment.
3) Ensure that everything you do during both calm and turbulent times is aligned to and governed by your Steward Leadership Compass©.
While capital, regulation, incentives and reporting are important drivers of behaviour change, they are not enough to address the enormity of today's threats. In addition to these drivers, organisations need to create a strong culture of Steward Leadership where every employee strives to create value by integrating the needs of multiple stakeholders and society at large. To activate Steward Leadership, individuals and organisations must integrate four core stewardship values with their own personal and organisational values to develop their Steward Leadership Compass©.