This is a time for rethinking leadership. We are doing this politically. We are doing it with our relationship with Europe and companies are doing it as they respond to the new demands and concerns of their stakeholders. Today no group of stakeholders is willing to give business leaders the benefit of the doubt. Stakeholders want returns not excuses. Employees want clarity on where their employers wish to take the company and why. Consumers don’t only want products and services. They want to know the values of the businesses that produce them. What are the standards that can make the business sustainable? What contribution do they make to the society of which they are so vital a part? For whom do they make life better apart from themselves? Harsh questions in a harsh environment. And the price of not having convincing credible answers has never been higher. Disruptors want to disrupt, regulators wait to ratchet up the values, mainstream media wait to pounce and social media increase their power to turn any mistake – any candour remark – into a calamitous folly.
The Leadership Agency exists to help, to counsel, to advise, to tutor communication, recalibrating messages, writing the words, rehearsing delivery. This is not about good intentions or wishful thinking. We draw on 25 years of experience in counselling capitalism – 25 years of learning what works and why. Twenty five years of commitment to the success of business leadership, which every year becomes more vital.
By Lord Watson of Richmond CBE FRTS