BUILDING RESILIENCE IN A FRAGILE WORLD
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.