IMD News · Sustainability - Leadership - Innovation

Exploring leadership and innovation at OWP to create more sustainable companies

On day two of IMD’s signature program, OWP participants explored themes of communication, innovation, agility, and technology to become more impactful leaders and build sustainable and inclusive organizations.
3 min.
June 2022

IMD faculty and guest speakers offered insights into how to combine positive change with stronger leadership and performance on day two of the Orchestrating Winning Performance program.

“At OWP, one of the things we really love to do is to help people make very important transitions in the way in which they lead and create great performance for their organizations,” said Robert Hooijberg, Professor of Organizational Behaviour. “There’s a fundamental change required in the way in which you lead, the way in which you engage people, and the way in which you get the best out of people.”

Watch your words: language can divide or include

To build more inclusive world and working environment, Adjunct Professor of Leadership Heather Cairns-Lee urged OWP participants to “get curious” about the language they use and the assumptions that lie behind it, and to pay attention to the “ripple effect” of their words.

“Inclusion isn’t the absence of bias, but the mindful management of it,” Cairns-Lee said during her session, which examined how to lead in a more inclusive way through language. “When we get curious and try to use inclusive language, we are able to build more inclusivity in our work lives and home lives.”

Leaders must become ambidextrous: operators and transformers

Professor of Innovation and Strategy Mark Greeven explained that effective leadership today requires an “ambidextrous” approach to manage and adjust corporate strategies to harness short-term opportunities in the market, while also generating novel strategies to create and capture value for new customers.

This operator-transformer leadership style can be especially impactful when navigating a dual corporate transformation, Greeven said, citing the example of Chinese insurance giant Ping An’s Jessica Tan as a leader who was hired as a transformer and transitioned to an operator when she became Co-CEO of the group.

Tech to transform sustainability strategies

“The role of tech is as important as the role of sustainability,” said Professor of Marketing and Strategy, Frédéric Dalsace at OWP 2022 today in a session on sustainability as a competitive advantage. “It’s a tailwind that will take you far.”

Pointing out that 8% of new clothes in the UK were never worn and cars were only used one percent of the time, Dalsace said companies had to work harder to reimagine their products and services so to meet the needs of the market, and the planet.

He highlighted shared business models as one way forward, in particular XaaS models that make more efficient use of their assets such as Rolls-Royce’s “power by the hour” circular model, which had required the firm to have a vested interest in the quality of the engine.

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