The new norm – the new success criteria

Business as usual no longer exists.

We live in a tipping point moment in history. Change is occurring at unprecedented speed in so many areas at the same time – technology, data, climate change, ecosystems and much more. The exponential speed is very hard for humans to understand as we are brought up in the linear mindset. We do not easily comprehend the urgency of acting fast. The future success of any business depends on understanding that we live at a tipping point in history that requires immediate ambitious actions to stabilize planet, societies and people to make it possible to thrive as a business in the future.

The accelerating burning platform is igniting a significant shift in success criteria for business. The new success criteria will include:

  • Profit to shareholders is no longer enough – business must serve the planet, society and people too.
  • Short-termism is no longer feasible.
  • To keep the license to operate “Be part of the solution – not part of the problem”. Businesses are no longer above the planet, society and people – they need to provide a neutral or positive contribution to our ecosystem and society.
  • The sustainable development goals are critical parameters that business contribution will be measured against.
  • Ambitious and proactive action matter. Attractiveness to younger employees, customers and investors require a meaningful purpose followed by action to realize a positive contribution – paying lip service is no longer acceptable.
  • Business is responsible for the potential negative side effects of technology. It is critical that we use technology to serve the planet, society and people – and not the other way around. This includes letting ethical responsibility be prioritized before profit.
  • The leaders of business must be more courageous, responsive, responsible and sustainability focused
  • Human-centric leadership approach is critical to unleash the human capacity for creativity, agility, problem solving, and increased speed needed for success
  • Resilience and longer term survival of the business come before profit growth

These new success criteria will fundamentally change the way decisions are made in business. Making business cases as usual will not address the conditions for survival of the business listed above. The meaning of sound business sense is changing. Our business case calculations have been too simplified until now. Ahead of re-developing new ways of calculating business cases – which is critical – we need to start measuring our decisions up against the above success criteria – and act fast.

The way to lead with the new prioritization and the new leadership mindset is described in my book “Leadership of the Future – How to lead in a world that looks nothing like the past”.