Leaders more confident of Covid response than sustainability or diversity

Board Composition and SuccessionBoard and CEO AdvisoryBoard Effectiveness
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5月 04, 2021
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Board Composition and SuccessionBoard and CEO AdvisoryBoard Effectiveness
Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant James Roome talks about leadership preparedness in 2021.


The Consultancy.uk article, "Leaders more confident of Covid response than sustainability or diversity," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant James Roome​ and is based on our paper, “2021 Global Leadership Monitor: Leadership Preparedness for the Road Ahead.​" The article is excerpted below.  

Most business leaders are now well positioned to handle the impact a public health crisis might have on their firm. However, a host of new challenges await leaders in the years ahead – including purpose, susta​inability and a competitive labour market. 
A new survey by Russell Reynolds Associates has polled over 1,300 executives across over 50 countries, shedding light into some of key priorities and challenges of leaders globally. 

One of the key findings is that when it comes to the top external factors impacting organisational health over the coming years, most executives agree that their leadership is prepared to meet the challenge. Around 61% listed uncertain economic growth as a top five challenge, 63% said their leadership was prepared. 


Following this, business leaders appear extremely confident when it comes to handling public health crises in the future. When asked how confident they were in the executive team or advisory board’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 80% of CEOs, C-level executives, next-generation leaders and board advisory members agreed they had performed well. 

James Roome, Managing Director at Russell Reynolds Associates, commented, “The pandemic has been a period of disruption for us all – personally and professionally. Inevitably the past year has prompted business leaders to consider how they are spending time in their careers and how they balance their priorities.” 

That being said, business leaders were markedly less confident in how effectively the executive team and board embraced digital transformation, ESG opportunities, or diversity and inclusion efforts. ​ 

Commenting on the confidence gap in ESG, Roome said, “Boards and CEOs are feeling the pressure to show engagement and progress on ESG. However, ESG is typically not yet embedded in the culture of companies.” 

“The ESG agenda needs to be key to the corporate strategy so that ESG priorities truly impact how business decisions are made. Until that point, there is of course a risk that the ESG agenda might be perceived as rhetoric without action.” 

To read the full article, click here​.  ​