What things do I think that are going to be really important for businesses looking forward?

I am often asked what I think the most important themes are for boards and leadership teams to be talking about and tackling. This is once again a topic on many people’s minds given the challenges and disruptions happening around the planet.

I started a list of what I think is important – it got quite long!

Some of the things that I think are going to be really (really, really) important for business leadership (boards and excos) to discover, discuss and debate looking forward – in no particular order (simply as I let me mind run);

  • Sustainability – with the hottest summer (in the Northern Hemisphere and a world on fire)
  • Accountability for the way they treat their people
  • Corporate Culture – what it enables/allows and disallows – both the good and the bad
  • Corporate Culture that protects the business or exposes the business!
  • The role of the board in culture
  • Customer issues – listening and responding
  • The planet and the impact of (my/our/the) business on the planet
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability – inter-relationships and impacts
  • Long term strategy and vision – keeping the future in mind at all times
  • The other dividends – people & planet & everything else
  • The role of director as steward, trustee (fiduciary)
  • The changing face of capitalism – capitalism that does not destroy but that leaves things better than before (a massive discussion)
  • Cultivating our people as we build our business
  • Effective business that is caring business
  • Caring directors
  • Care – what does this look like – can we be a ‘loving business’
  • Trust – do we have it, why/or why not?
  • Cultivating Trust
  • Building a business that everyone, inside and out, actually trusts
  • Inequality and Inequity – in the world and in the business – how is it impacting what we do, how we do it – and also (most importantly) why we do what we do?
  • The role of the board in sustainability and long-term thinking
  • Better decision making that actually takes into account the interests of others
  • Selflessness as a director
  • Understanding the risk of not being sustainable – how sustainability is the ultimate risk mitigator (in so many ways)
  • Changing the business and the operating environment so that it treats everyone fairly and better always
  • Treating customers fairly
  • The power (and momentum) of sustainable business
  • Measuring profits in more than just money – how else are we profitable
  • Thinking about sustainability as profitability (in a way that one can sleep at night)
  • Changing the mind-set from extraction of value to creation of value – and actually transforming business processes to do this
  • Understanding the difference between business that simply ‘captures’ value and business that creates value – through the way it is structured
  • Designing/architecting and building sustainable business models
  • Value capture vs value creation – what is valid and how to ensure that no damage is done
  • Damage free business – committing to business that does not damage it people and the environment
  • Building a business with a minimum footprint intentionally
  • Finding unique ways to solve the world’s problems that do not rely on extraction and depletion
  • Risk – recognising it and (actually) dealing with it
  • Risk Governance that works – and is not a listing or ticking the box exercise!
  • Ensuring efficiencies are not costly in other ways – what is the cost of financial efficiency, measuring the real impact/cost of doing business
  • Is efficiency a valid measure of business anyway?
  • Efficiency – the weakest link – squeeze the money and what else carries the cost
  • What is carrying the cost of your push to financial efficiency?
  • Redesigning LEAN, Six –sigma etc to ensure that the full cost of doing business is actually taken into account
  • Sustainable efficiency
  • Rebuilding core sustainable economies – rebuilding the basic building blocks of economies (food, water, technical expertise)
  • The cost of the service economy – a move away from the basic building blocks of a sustainable economy and community, a pursuit of knowledge work at the expense of building actual skills that build a country, community and economy
  • Technology!
  • Technology and Ethics
  • AI – filtering through the myth and the reality
  • Automation and HR – reconciling their differences
  • Technology and Risk – technology gets rid of risk but also introduces risk – and itself is a risk
  • Complexity and Systems Thinking
  • How do we THINK better – about all the things we need to think about – analysis, creativity, imagination, interpretation (all different kinds of thinking)
  • Decision making – how do we do this more consistently and better
  • Decision making as a process and decision making as a protection
  • How does our decision making reflect our values – does it really reflect our values? what does it actually reflect?
  • What do we really value – and how is this guiding what we decide and what we do?
  • Information – what should we actually be looking at and seeing (and why we often don’t feel like we are seeing everything/the right things/ the best things?


  • Questioning the relentless pursuit of more
    • How much is enough?
    • How much is too much?
  • Is growth always good?


  • Changing the mind-set from
    • Extraction
    • Depletion
    • Damage
    • Pollution and waste
  • To
    • Creation
    • Enhancement
    • Savings
    • Sustainability


  • Emerging pictures of directorship
    • Conductor
    • Guide
    • Steward
    • Strategist
    • Chess player
    • Captain of a Ship
    • Governor
    • Servant
    • Trustee
    • Decision maker
    • Overseer
    • Farmer
    • Architect
    • Builder

If you would like to hold a conversation about any of this – and more – I would be happy to facilitate – feel free to CONTACT ME.

To boldly go where no-one has gone before.

Taking risks to address the things that really matter!

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