Solidary leadership 2.0

Only together and conceiving the economy as an ecosystem is how we get to move on.

The impact the Covid-19 pandemic has brought is deep, global, and disrupts economy, health and society in the broadest sense. This impact is unprecedented and with that perspective, so should the reflections, decisions and actions be to reactivate the motors of economy, society and familiar sustenance.

Our leadership needs to understand the implications of the problem as an ecosystem, where the survival of its members depends on their health and the environment. Under this conception, the alternative solutions to this economic and health pandemic must be addressed from the lenses of this comprehensive perspective,  even when the immediate benefit seems non-existent for our Company, or even implies an additional cost, since this effort protects the sustainability of the entire economic ecosystem.

We are calling this new approach to leadership “2.0 Solidarity Leadership”. In the past, it has been written about Solidarity Leadership. However, it is our opinion that it has focused mostly on a limited perspective of social responsibility. We believe that need, opportunity, and learning should lead us to a deeper definition.

We will move forward, however, we cannot wait to “get back to normal”.

There are many references that indicate that we are living a time of unprecedented changes. It has been compared to a global closure of the planet (The Economist), to a post-world war era (Angela Merkel) and several, more daring, to the birth of the post-globalization era. Barely three months after the public appearance of this problem and weeks after the declaration of the Pandemic, we are witnessing a rate of change and unprecedented actions, both in which decisions are making their way as they go. There is no “playbook” that applies to the situation. Entire industries, countries, currencies, companies, etc., will be structurally affected.

Faced with such a scenario, we are convinced that once we have overcome the problem stage of this situation (duration and experience uncertain), the stabilization stage will return us to our old normality. The scenario will be different.

For instance, three perspectives:

1. Economy: the effects on the results of the companies, slow investments, the indebtedness of companies and countries, the imminent recessions in some of them, the “winners” and “losers” in this situation, are just some of the ingredients that will affect the H2 2020 and 2021 scenario onwards.

2. Business: By necessity, many companies will need to accelerate the digitization of their processes. There will be no going back in that some positions will be digitized; others will remain in a remote modality and many others will disappear. Company settings will change. As a practical example of this, one of the members of our Consortium shared with us that they are currently adapting their new corporate offices; however, they decided to redesign the configuration of the spaces with the lessons learned from this remote working situation and reconfiguration of tasks. Another member commented to us that the redesign project of its Business Architecture for the Digitization of its operation was on hold, but with the emergency, they have had to accelerate it: that will result in a new way of operating.

3. Society: Quarantine has made society experience a moment of pause, reflection and discernment to which it was not used to. Aspects that were held and taken for granted, and aspects that were not held and underestimated have been valued; aspects such as freedom, physical socialization, the professions of science and health and civility of a society that respects the guidelines and laws.

We are still in an early stage of this crisis. However, our optimistic approach and the conviction that as humanity we have managed to overcome great challenges in the past, gives us full confidence that we will succeed. Nevertheless, we are convinced that the dawn will be gradual and will result in a new social, economic and competitive scenario.

The problem is unprecedented and affects the entire ecosystem

It is the human race that is affected by this micro enemy. It forces us to stay in our homes with implications:

  • Investments will be put on hold
  • A contractor will have to decide what to do with his inventory and with his workforce
  • A carrier must stop consuming some goods and for maintenance of his unit
  • A factory worker’s family will reduce their consumption in the face of uncertainty or even in the absence of work
  • An airline will not transport people who were supposed to go to certain meetings and projects and will therefore lower its income
  • An employee will cancel his vacation
  • Hotel workers will be unemployed
  • A restaurant will not open
  • A waiter will not receive tips
  • A family will have unemployed neighbors and some underserved stores
  • The government will have complications in receiving proceeds
  • The government will have to make unexpected expenses, going into debt
  • … and so, the chain goes on.

Faced with this situation, all companies, chambers, countries and even international organizations are reacting with different courses of action. It is our observation that we are going through different stages in these actions:

1. First we took on the task of organizing the company’s response independently, inward: priorities, work groups, decision-making system, new forms of remote work, etc.

  1. In the second stage, it was already understood that to solve the most complex issues, we needed the collaboration of others; in other words, others could change their priorities so that our company could cover their own, transitioned into dependency. This has already opened the horizon for us to look outward, but with the focus that we both benefit.
  1. However, in the crisis stage that we are in, we believe that we will move forward, if we raise our eyes not only to the companies which we are already collaborating with, but we also have to look at the whole, as an economic ecosystem. It is useless if my company and my suppliers are the only ones saved, because everything must be saved.

We define an ecosystem as a community made up of a set of interrelated living beings and the natural environment in which they live. In other words, it is a community that lives in balance and harmony. Clearly, the definition of the biological context serves us precisely in this one. Beyond the generic, economic and even social reflection of this crisis, we have to realize that, for the first time, we all have a common problem. A problem that impacts and affects the ecosystem as a whole.

The common solution: Solidarity Leadership 2.0

We define Solidarity Leadership 2.0 as a deeper reflection of the social responsibility attributed to it in the past. A definition in the context of interdependence (according to the previous point), where the actions go according to my company and the community in which we operate.

We consider that Solidarity Leadership 2.0 is one that understands the evident interdependence that we have in our economic ecosystem; that their actions are aimed at moving forward as a whole and not just a subset, the entire ecosystem and not a part. This means, fundamentally, that I have to be willing to make personal sacrifices to save the whole; that I have to make decisions today for the existence of all of tomorrow.

We go back to our previous story and give a few glimpses of different results when decisions are made interdependently, based on solidarity leadership 2.0:

  • The plant agrees with the government on a valid social distancing scheme, and with its clients a different delivery rate
  • The government helps with certain exemptions for the plant to invest in necessary adjustments without laying off staff
  • The company communicates the complete image, transparently to its collaborators. The collaborator understands the circumstance and puts the discipline and commitment of their work on their part
  • The employee and the company agree on projects and tasks that can be done effectively at a distance
  • Another company agrees with its project providers the pauses, the redirection of some resources and the new times to give guarantee to the provider’s collaborators
  • Citizens organize and decide to co-create citizen support initiatives with companies. Example: buying food certificates to support waiters who are not working
  • Another part of the citizenry agrees to buy the goods for the crisis (face masks, soaps, respirators, etc.) at considerable prices made by a factory that reconfigured its production plant.
  • The carrier agrees to lower its rates and offers cargo capacity for other sectors.

A story in which decisions are made interdependently, considering the whole, considering today and considering tomorrow.

We insist, we will get out of this, and we will do it together. Undoubtedly, Solidarity Leadership 2.0, should arrive to stay as a positive legacy of this crisis that teaches us that we live in an ecosystem which we cannot use, but play a role in it.

At BTConsortium, now, more than ever, we are here to accompany you.

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