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Taking Responsibility Beyond Current Limits

I have found myself having a lot of conversations recently about the notion of responsibility in a personal and leadership sense. It’s a theme I feel I know a lot about having been a ‘seriously responsible’ person since I was a child although I think I’m managing to remedy some of that tendency now – like all things they can become distorted and for me that often shows up as taking on too much responsibility.

The conversations however have me thinking about what it really means to take responsibility in today’s world.

Once upon a time, we relied on our public or corporate leaders to shoulder responsibility for making the right decisions and getting things done – hoping (and sometimes praying) that they would act from a place of greater good.

The world is different now though. With the breaking down of so many organisations and institutions reputationally – big business, religion, politics – we appear to have less faith generally in the formal leaders of our time.   That said, the level of trust and expectation that is placed in business leaders to get involved in and take responsibility for driving change in social and environmental issues is on the rise. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust barometer, 76% of people surveyed (30,000 globally) feel that CEOs should take the lead on change and not wait for the government to sort it out.

For me, this defines a new level of responsibility for business leaders – a responsibility that is both personal and leadership related.

Personal because it’s about how we show up, of course, it’s about what we stand for and, more than ever, it’s about our relationship with the role of leadership. It goes way beyond the confines of the business or organisation and into a wider leadership role.

Though unlikely to be written in the job descriptions – though it needs to be – this level of responsibility is a massive call to action for leaders to step into using their experience and wisdom and their position and place in the world to achieve greater good outcomes. For sure coalitions of business leaders exist and are having discussions about the broader agenda. The World Economic Forum is a case in point. But like all things in our lives at this time, that level of responsibility – personal and leadership – has to be amplified.

Amplified in a way that takes us beyond our comfort zone, into a place of stretch and into a place where, if needed, we are prepared to risk all to achieve bigger and more far-reaching outcomes – not in the name of profit but in the name of the overall well-being and, we might say, the survival of the human race and our planet.

Lorraine Flower
Lorraine Flowerhttp://azzur.co.uk/
As a Corporate change agent, consultant, coach and mentor Lorraine founded azzur and is completely transparent about the spiritual principles on which it operates. Alongside her 18 years as azzur’s founder, Lorraine brings 20 years' service industry experience to bear through her senior leadership roles at British Airways (BA) and Great North Eastern Railway (GNER). It is Lorraine's belief in individual and organisational power for good that gives azzur its raison d'etre. azzur and Lorraine specifically has worked with clients across the business spectrum from financial services, to retail and transport to healthcare an in both the public and private sectors. azzur is focused on developing contemporary, spirited leadership capability, and organisations built on inspiring purpose, empowering cultures and a powerful vision and values. She is championing new models of leadership and organisational development founded on the principles of conscious leadership and writes extensively on these topics.She is a member of a number of global spiritual groups and communities serving the greater good of Humanity and the planet. She works and studies extensively in developing and exploring conscious leadership believing that business leaders are key players in transforming the well-being of the planet and humanity as a whole.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for your additions Per – the conscious leadership space is also one I know well…and i wholeheartedly agree we are finally seeing topics come increasingly into the mainstream that would never have been raised previously within the business sphere…the challenge it seems to me is broadening the conversation and the challenge to leaders to have the courage to leave the known world of task, transaction and profit and move into greater good and seeing their role and their organisation’s role within that.

  2. Excellent piece Lorraine.
    The idea of “Ethos” (both meanings) more than ever needs to en(m)compass globality – an ontocentric ethics (Floridi). Fully agree we see signs of change e.g. “Conscious Capitalism” by McKay & Sisodia and recently published “Stakeholder Capitalism” by Claus Schwab (founder of WEF) and the proclamation from the Roundtable. One of my personal favorites is Bob Chapman (& Raj Sisodia) CEO of Barry-Wehmiller account in “Everybody matters – the extraordinary power of caring for your people like family” – that title was almost unthinkable 10 years ago. Wrote an (too) lengthy piece and that https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/we-measure-success-way-touch-lives-people-per-brogaard-berggreen
    The “Good” being fundamental ethical value and having inherent value in itself is to me also the “beyond myself” and certainly way beyond “profit” (a mere product) – Allness is required “to achieve bigger and more far-reaching outcomes” and along with it responsibility beyond oneself.

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