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Companies and leaders do not exist in vacuum but are part of a society and an ecosystem. As the
challenges of 2023 and beyond are sizeable, it is evident that sustainability must be in the core of business
strategies and thus in communications strategies. According to a study by Weber Shandwick, one of the
leading PR companies in the world, in 2020, your future depends on your reputation. It is 63% of your
market value. In the modern world with complex challenges, it is sustainable strategies that build your
Sustainable strategies are all about authenticity and transparency, genuine understanding of the current
situation and of the needs of the ecosystem. Gone are the days of high hierarchies and autocracy, the
vision of Better World has become a hygiene factor.
Leadership is not a title
Leadership is a service job. All great leaders serve their people or a greater cause. According to Future
Radar of Nordic Business Forum 2022, leadership is and will be in crisis until 2040. It is forecasted that
power structures will shift further, all egos will be stripped and holocracy (autonomous teamwork) will take
over. Holocracy model of management promotes distributed authority, fast iteration, and aims to be
dynamic and flexible by reducing unnecessary micromanagement and bureaucracy. This means that many
need to re-think how they see organisations, work and leadership.
There is a call for new leadership conscience. A call for improved business thinking – leadership thinking
that embraces strategies that will bring about a Better World. There is also a call for new and improved
business metrics and metrics for wellbeing on a macroeconomic level.
Neste, a Finnish company, is a great example of such thinking. Ranked among the world’s TOP5 sustainable
companies in 2021, it started the transformation for renewable energy in 2007. In 2015 when Neste Oil
name was changed to simply Neste, the letters O – I – L in their logo on top of the building were brought
down one by one. Then the Managing Director reorganized the letters into new order I – L – O (ilo –
meaning Joy in Finnish). From oil to joy. How about that for a message?
Neste embraces communications in their transformation and their leaders have emphasized it as a vital
skill. Neste also faced difficult decisions for which they were not always praised. Still, they knew that the
transformation was necessary.
Understand your audience
The younger your audience or your staff, the greater the expectations of contributing to the societal issues
are. Y generation will take and have already taken leading positions and gen Z (under 21 years) will enter
work life in masses sooner than you think.
General rule in nature is: differentiate or die. This goes with us humans as well. If your desired audience
doesn’t hear or see you and doesn’t connect with you, you will stand alone. All communication must start
from the audience. It needs a clear strategy, a stellar plan and lots of confidence – an attitude and a passion
The Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, has become a thought leader for her million followers. Being a
young female leader automatically raised media interest, but increasingly the rise has been about her
assertive communication style, her maverick image and the straight-forward messaging about how Europe
should stand by Ukraine. It seems she has captured the hearts and minds of her audience and the sign of
Her argumentation and her dress choices have disrupted the conservative consensus in traditional political
argumentation and style. From mute to vocal. How about that for a message?
How to find your Mojo?
There is no doubt. Make no mistake about it. Thought leaders are made through strategic choices,
extensive research & careful planning and precise execution.
By recognizing the sign of the times, you can tap the pulse of the people and the media. By bringing hope
and oozing confidence, you will be both interesting and appealing. Remember, that honey attracts more
bees than vinegar.
Work with the following:
1. Make your strategic choices. Think for future generations.
2. Be brave and be prepared for criticism – it will come. Stay positive.
3. Align all touchpoints.
4. Be consistent and communicate. Face the music.
5. Learn and repeat.
Blog first published via IPRA