New Accenture Report: Responsible Leadership

In their recently published report ‘responsible leadership for a sustainable and equitable world’ Accenture emphasize that at the beginning of the new decade, businesses and organisations are facing a range of challenges that are forcing them to redefine responsible leadership: 

  • Climate change: 65% of business leaders agree that they need to decouple economic growth from the use of natural resources. 

  • Global economic fragility: 87% of business leaders believe that global and economic systems need to refocus on equitable growth. 

  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution: New technologies have to be managed for both their potential promise and their peril. 

  • The risk of leaving people behind in the workplace: Investment in emerging technologies doubled 2017-2019, but only 18% of organisations planned to significantly increase spending to reskill their people in the next three years. 

A new model of responsible leadership is required.


Today’s leaders need to deliver value on three fronts: organisational performance, measured most often by short-term earnings; continuous innovation, the seedbed for longer-term growth, often propelled by emerging technology; and sustainability & trust, earned by attending to the interests of stakeholders. 


What leadership attributes are required to achieve all three objectives? Accenture asked approximately 2,000 business leaders and 3,000 stakeholders. Accenture also asked more than 1,800 emerging leaders in the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers communities. From this emerged:


The five elements model of responsible leadership. 

  • Stakeholder Inclusion. Safeguarding trust and positive impact for all by standing in the shoes of diverse stakeholders when making decisions and fostering an inclusive environment where diverse individuals have a voice and feel they belong.  

  • Emotion & Intuition. Unlocking commitment and creativity by being truly human, showing compassion, humility and openness.  

  • Mission & Purpose. Advancing common goals by inspiring a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organisation and its stakeholders.  

  • Technology & Innovation. Creating new organisational and societal value by innovating responsibly with emerging technology.  

  • Intellect & Insight. Finding ever-improving paths to success by embracing continuous learning and knowledge exchange.  

Company executives recognise that leaders of responsible businesses need to exhibit all Five Elements. They place strong emphasis on Technology & Innovation. But companies’ stakeholders see things differently. Consumers, employees and others have a far greater interest in leaders with highly developed Mission & Purpose and Emotion & Intuition. This suggests that organisations may find it hard to meet the expectations of wider society unless they modify their leadership qualities and seek a stronger and more balanced Five Elements profile. 


You can access the full report and its recommendations here

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Coronavirus Preparedness
New Accenture Report: Responsible Leadership
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