Responsible leadership and corporate activism, the major business challenges to face the future
The twenty-first edition of #LderesResponsables, dialogues between the general management on the challenges of post-COVID reconstruction, organized by the SERES Foundation, had the participation of Asuncin Soriano, CEO and President of Atrevia Espaa and Gonzalo Ulloa, honorary president of Gmez Acebo y Pombo.
Francisco Romn, President of the SERES Foundation, welcomed and opened the session by stressing that “the social S is acquiring a leading role, as evidenced by the latest risk map drawn up by the World Economic Forum in the environment from Davos. We are convinced and the experience of SERES also tells us that companies have great relevance in economic or social development, whether through their operations or through the creation of value chains. These dialogues in which we talk about what we have learned and how to face the future are essential for purposeful leadership, something that matters to all of us right now. “
New business models
Asuncin Soriano, CEO and President of Atrevia said that “in the context of the pandemic and the dramatic circumstances we are going through, with the very important challenges ahead in sustainability and digitization, strategic communication has an important role to to play. The moment of truth has come for corporate purposes. And in the consistency between saying and doing. Communication and management are communicating vessels. Society is leading change and institutions and businesses cannot be left behind: we must be the tractors. Now is the time for corporate activism. And to communicate with courage, close, more attentive than ever. And with transparency ”.
Gonzalo Ulloa, Honorary President of Gmez Acebo y Pombo stressed that “the depth of the pandemic has had a total impact on the organization. The entire remote staff experience was certainly one of the big revisions we had to make. In addition, communication, proximity and humanity have been essential elements in the relationship with customers ”.
Digitization and the future
For his part, Asuncin Soriano wished to underline by mentioning how digitization was promoted after COVID-19 and how it changed our consumer habits and declared that “we are living in a moment of disruption: new technologies, new habits consumption, new models of exchange of goods and services. The pandemic as the definitive catalyst for the urgency of digitization, the accelerated integration of technology in everyday life has been formidable. The big challenges are to avoid the digital divide and that this phenomenon leaves no one behind. Today we have an empowered citizen who (against all generational stereotypes) has integrated technology into their life, can access a lot of information, and feel the power to be a player in a social conversation without the need for intermediaries, to influence and to choose. But at the same time, in this new environment, we must be extra careful about the perverse effects generated: greater handling capacity, algorithm bias, impact of fake news…. We are witnessing a paradigm shift that requires substantial public debate ”.
Gonzalo Ulloa reflected on the future we face and how the new exercise is presented “there is some optimism with the arrival of vaccines and their distribution. The new financial year will very probably not be able to cope with it under the same conditions in which we did it and on the other hand there are changes which will remain because they will avoid the expenses and the risks. There will be a review of many of the activities we have ”.
Asuncin Soriano expressed how he imagines the responsible leadership required and stressed that “these are times that require moving from leadership to promoting corporate activism. Managers need to be question leaders, conversation facilitators, and change catalysts. Being able to lead conversations and take action. And be co-creation facilitators. And these are also moments that need to be done quickly, with a capacity for synthesis and a simplification of the complex, extracting what is important in environments in excess of information and of great complexity. All of this forces us to continuously retrain: unlearn and acquire new skills. Above all, listen to her. Because the new leader will be the one who masters authentic listening, the one who, as if it were a muscle, constantly activated it in order to be able to anticipate and support his organization in the change ” .
According to Gonzalo Ulloa, “the leader must give hope in an environment of fatigue like the one we live in. We have to do this with customers, employees and the rest of our stakeholders, but it’s the only way to achieve greater engagement with interest groups ”.