Ecosystem Leadership

In today’s world, the most effective CEOs recognize that no one is an island: no CEO, no company, no industry, no country. The lines have permanently blurred, and chief executives must embrace the opportunity to help shape our shared future — as enterprise leaders who are moving across and beyond — to influence entire ecosystems

Sarah Jensen Clayton, Tierney Remick, and Evelyn Orr -Today’s CEOs Don’t Just Lead Companies. They Lead Ecosystems

That quote from a recent HBR article speaks to a phenomenon that has been developing for some time in a synergistic relationship with a growing focus on purpose. I have covered the topic of ecosystems extensively across many years – the various posts can be found here. An ecosystem is a complex network of connected stakeholders interacting in ways that create and capture value for all ecosystem participants. Increasingly, that value addresses the various aspects of our well-being. This visual describes a cross-industry scenario that addresses human need in the context of wellness (click to enlarge).

As the article states, multiple factors in our current world have woven business and society more tightly together. We see this in a growing focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, as well as the public’s desire for CEOs to take a stand on social issues. The article provides insight from Korn Ferry research, derived from discussions with 105 board directors from 311 North American companies across 11 industries. A key finding from the research speaks to a different type of leadership required by this emerging world of ecosystems.

If CEOs are to deliver against their new job description, they must become a different type of CEO: an enterprise leader who also stewards the ecosystem in which their business operates, including customers, suppliers, partners, competitors, governments, and their local community

Sarah Jensen Clayton, Tierney Remick, and Evelyn Orr -Today’s CEOs Don’t Just Lead Companies. They Lead Ecosystems

While it is still early days, the Korn Ferry research identified the five steps that are key to getting started. They are:

  1. Know the players
  2. Empower your senior leaders
  3. Cultivate an enterprise mindset and an ecosystem skillset
  4. Build the infrastructure
  5. Anticipate risk

The article describes each of the five steps and is well worth the read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s