BUILD­ING RE­SILIENCE IN A FRAG­ILE WORLD

Rotman Management Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynda Grat­ton

Build­ing re­silience in three spheres of cor­po­rate in­flu­ence is crit­i­cal to long-term sus­tain­abil­ity — not only for

or­ga­ni­za­tions, but for the world it­self.

that we are fac­ing pro­found and es­caFEW WOULD AR­GUE lat­ing chal­lenges in the world. Those of us who are Baby Boomers are rightly con­cerned about our legacy; and many young­sters are wor­ried about the world they have in­her­ited. More­over, chal­lenges like youth un­em­ploy­ment, in­come in­equal­ity and cli­mate change are not par­tic­u­lar to one coun­try or area. These global chal­lenges are such that if we don’t do some­thing about them, they could sig­nif­i­cantly blight the lives of our chil­dren and the gen­er­a­tions that fol­low.

For decades, the most ob­vi­ous can­di­dates for ad­dress­ing these chal­lenges have been gov­ern­ments and global in­sti­tu­tions such as the World Bank. These in­sti­tu­tions can in­deed play a role, but it seems to me that over the last few years there has been one kind of in­sti­tu­tion that is grow­ing in strength and ca­pa­bil­ity and is be­com­ing uniquely placed to ad­dress these chal­lenges: the world’s global cor­po­ra­tions. The chal­lenge is that be­fore a cor­po­ra­tion can reach out into its com­mu­nity or take a wider world view, it first has to reach in­side to build in­ner re­silience.

It was this ques­tion about how cor­po­ra­tions build both in­ner and outer re­silience that pro­pelled me in 2008 to launch the Fu­ture of Work Con­sor­tium. By con­nect­ing ex­ec­u­tives from more than 40 com­pa­nies, our hope is that we can un­der­stand more deeply how the world’s best lead­ers can cre­ate ways of op­er­at­ing that in­crease their chances of flour­ish­ing in the un­know­able fu­ture. What we have dis­cov­ered is that, while there are still plenty ex­am­ples of short-ter­mism, there are also com­pa­nies where ex­ec­u­tives are tak­ing a world­view and peo­ple are ac­tively build­ing re­silience — within their or­ga­ni­za­tions, in their com­mu­ni­ties and in the world at large.

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