Next Gen Leadership Will Require Unlocking the Seemingly Hidden Opportunities
The world has spoken about a “new normal” for months—and with the ongoing COVID pandemic and increasing symptoms of the climate crisis, business leaders and impact investors are asking, “How do we actually get there?”
Next Gen leadership will require an understanding of how to lead through crisis. This leadership must be underpinned by the goal to create a future where we can all thrive, which often means the tools readily at leaders’ disposal are not going to get us where we want to go. We need new tools for us to make it to where we want to go.
To learn more about the current opportunity to build a new normal, watch the full conversation held originally as part of SOCAP Virtual 2020. The session explores the theme Next Gen Leadership from the following diverse and powerful perspectives:
Alison Fort: Impact Partner at Katapult Foundation and previously served as the Toniic Managing Director, EMEA;
Britta Gruenig Castelli: a personal development and leadership coach to wealth owners participating in a leading university program for next gen change agents, Impact Investing for the Next Generation by the Initiative for Responsible Investing at Harvard Kennedy School and the Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP) at the University of Zurich; and
Johannes Weber: an impact investing specialist at the BMW Foundation.
Leading the Way Toward a Sustainable New Normal: How Leaders Can Turn This Crisis Into an Opportunity
“Adaptability, freedom to experiment, freedom to let yourself unlearn and then relearn things, this is the first time in my career that I’ve had to go through all of that in such an intense and short period of time,” says Alison Fort. “I think that those skills of adaptability, experimentation, transparency … as we go through great periods of disruption and uncertainty, the new normal in my view … that those skills, which are difficult for us, will be necessary.”
These skills, Fort says, indicate a need for vulnerability on the part of leaders and acceptance of the vulnerability from stakeholders. This means how to lead through a crisis is not as much a checklist but more what Britta Gruenig Castelli says is “the inner game.”
“There are different competencies you can have as a leader,” Castelli shares. These competencies, she says, include focusing on processes, skills in specific management practices, and then consciousness as a leader. “This (consciousness) has a direct impact on the actions you take as a leader. If we’re looking at the very fundamental level, leadership all flows from the being. Once you’re clear on what kind of leader you are, what kind of leader you want to become, and what kind of impact you want to have on the world, the actions flow from there.”
And what does that all mean for impact investors? Is there an opportunity for those who invest for impact to drive this shift to a sustainable new normal?
“(A crisis) is a way to kind of reshuffle the system on a deeper level,” says Johannes Weber. “Previously unworthy or unrealistic, too difficult options become realistic. … There’s now an urgency for change, that business as normal is not possible anymore.” Weber continues, “Crisis is a big chance, and we have to take this chance (for paradigm change).”
The session was hosted by C4i – The Coalition for Impact, a global network of impact networks working together in order to maximize and amplify impact. Coalition members are: BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, Katapult, NEXUS, Toniic, and the Center for Sustainable Finance & Private Wealth (CSP).