In our Twin Transition articles, we’ve been reflecting on how organizations can embark on the double transition journey—the digital revolution at the service of sustainability, and the ecological revolution as the necessary starting point for sustainability—in order to add real value and benefit to the challenge of protecting the future of our society. This synchronization will guarantee a lasting, democratic, efficient, and profitable development. Today, we’ll be focusing on leadership as one of the key aspects of this process.
In our previous articles, The Wonder Twins and Show me the Money brought us closer to the analysis we’re developing on the matter. But our examples aren’t limited to vintage movies, and while watching the latest Oscar winning film, we couldn’t help but find yet another connection with Twin Transition. While we won’t be discussing whether or not the movie deserved the prize,
Everything Everywhere All at Once is an excellent example of how different networks (digital, temporal, special, universal, personal) can help reconcile the problems and chaos in the world affecting everyone, to achieve success and order.
In the film, Evelyn, the main character, is inserted into an alternate reality and immersed in a global adventure in which only she can save the world. Lost in the infinite multiverse, she must channel her new powers to fight to save the world and the entire planet, while she balances and shares her position of leadership with other characters—all at the same time.
This last idea reminded me that in organizational innovation we often mention maturity for innovation, leading in times of chaos, and environments that help generate better ideas; better meaning more useful, and useful meaning more effective, efficient, and sustainable.
These environments are usually structures which, by focusing on a purpose that goes beyond formalizing business relationships, distribute their decision-making as horizontally as possible, adapting to the organization’s internal and external conditions.
Why are we, once again, introducing innovation in the field of Twin Transition?
It’s not only because—as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) predicted—innovation is where we will find the accelerators that will narrow the gap between today and transition, and because a mindset of sustainable leadership proposes disruptive innovation as one of its key assets; it’s also because the leadership method that Olivia associates with innovation—connective leadership—goes hand in hand with the actions that businesses can leverage to inspire and promote Twin transition.
Leadership that connects
Whenever we discuss leadership, especially within Twin Transition, we’re referring to a vision of leadership that goes beyond the one we’re familiar with: value chain, ecosystem, world. When we mention leading, we could be referring to leading people, projects, topics, transformations, or countries. This way, leader can refer to directing people, teams, businesses, and countries, among others.
Collective leadership believes that the position of leadership is never a permanent one, and cannot act from outside the network. Leaders in collective leadership should belong to the net they lead, and distribute the opinions and diverse voices from inside the ecosystem. It’s not about who speaks the most or has the most knowledge, but about listening—their tool for connection.
Leading Twin Transition
After analyzing various studies and articles from the World Economic Forum, investigators including Sonia Abadi and Henry Mintzberg, and other consultants, we’d like to connect two simultaneous elements once again: connective leadership and a possible leadership for Twin Transition.
Three phases exist for creating a successful Twin Transition strategy:
- Establishing ambition, creating a visual map with set goals, a clear roadmap.
- Selecting opportunities, prioritizing according to the impact analysis and identifying the interested parts inside and outside the map.
- Preparing execution, guiding the effective implementation to improve the technology offering in order to reduce environmental impact.
It’s no coincidence that the verbs “define”, “inspire”, “discern” and “guide” are usually associated with organizational leadership. We’re going to take this idea one step further and present the following actions as a starting point for driving and leading the change that Twin Transition implies:
- Establishing direction, setting a North Star with objectives that integrate the changes in the organization’s strategic planification. Identifying and communicating business models based on sustainability and driven by technology.
- Avoiding procrastination by setting the example and taking action through our set example: investing money, time, and sustainable practices from the start. Circular economy offers opportunities in the business of Twin Transition.
- Observing the commercial value of sustainable and technological efforts, evaluating results and iterating, in order to streamline efforts.
- Studying the impact within the entire organization, evaluating internally, incorporating qualitative key performance indicators (KPI) or those that differ from financial indicators to strengthen the level of awareness for everyone.
- Scaling, increasing innovation for developing technologies, choosing suppliers and other key partners who also prioritize sustainability.
- Maintaining transformation, encouraging responsible internal habits (decreased waste, increased device lifespan, increased promotion of sustainability, etc.), maximizing financial support for digital projects from third parties so that it becomes the lever for what follows.
- Building a sustainable mindset, a multi-level systemic thinking that views sustainability as a process and not the ultimate goal. Driving the belief that the business’ purpose is not a commercial activity separated from the broader social and environmental context in which it operates. Managing commercial, social, and environmental results.
- Developing other leaders, encouraging tech talent, and conveying the skills acquired through the transformation experience as mentors.
How can we connect the actions required for leading Twin Transition with innovative leadership? Opportunity is what triggers connective intelligence, and allows human beings to contemplate themselves and project in a network with themselves and the universe that surrounds them, reaching a highly valuable collective goal.
Its main characteristics, which we will be developing in detail together with those of sustainable mindset in our next e-paper, work together to empower the necessary actions for leading Twin Transition: studying the future, its signals and trends; studying the context and different realities in order to create better experiences; creating close and empathetic interactions, making connections, enabling the best combinations; prioritizing the quality of relationships over the excessive demand for knowledge; managing emotions while listening more than speaking, and maintaining trusted environments that allow the proposal of even the “craziest” ideas, constantly adapting in a versatile manner, installing capability in current and potential leaders.
Lastly, there is also another key verb left to mention that we associate with any type of leader.
In this transition, we need to strive to “spread” towards other people or groups, on every scale. Like Evelyn, a hero with powers in every parallel universe, we’ll have to generate a spillover effect: reach different allies, sponsors, or ambassadors that will carry the message, learnings, and practices, and invest faster and more profoundly.
These allies will explain Twin Transition in other areas of the net and in other nets as a global cultural change. This is the invitation that we’re extending to you in order to keep transforming the world, one organization at a time.
By Paula Benardoni, Leader Specialized in Innovation and People Centricity