A new way to lead

Positively different leadership

With bold, focused leadership, we can pursue business for good, prove our organisations’ worth to consumers, inspire our teams and find creative solutions at unprecedented pace.

For many leaders, the last few years have shown how adaptable and resilient we are – and provided a platform and mandate for change. It’s this new way and better way to lead that will power business and society’s collective revival.

To explore the behaviours driving this new way to lead, we surveyed over 300 business leaders across the US, UK and Europe.

The results confirm what our experts have observed supporting leaders in multi-nationals across the globe – that there are concrete ways of leading that make a tangible difference to the health and happiness of an organisation and wider society. And that leaders who don’t understand and put these behaviours into practice risk being left behind.

Leaders recognise four behaviours as being vital to success:

Nurture human optimism
Helping people adapt to new and complex situations with innovation and creativity.
Empower teams to innovate
Giving people the space and permission to imagine and deliver value-creating responses.
Build evolving organisations
Creating environments where aware, inclusive and responsive teams are able to make a success out of change.
Seek inspiration in surprising places
Applying new perspectives and a broader lens to existing technologies and evolving challenges.

The case for change is clear

The overwhelming majority of leaders recognise these four behaviours as being vital to leadership now and in the future.

They told us that these behaviours aren’t ‘nice to have’, but critical values needed for their organisations to thrive. And that now is the time to act.

69% of leaders say they urgently need to change their leadership approach post-COVID
79% say employees, customers and investors expect them to demonstrate behaviours that drive wider social value

Disruption is driving change – and this can be a real plus

We see disruption every day in our work with innovative start-ups, scale-ups, and in reinventing old-world organisations for the digital age.

Across our work, we typically encounter four forces of opportunity. These forces are impacting everyone: customers, consumers, citizens and patients. And this means they’re impacting organisations and those who lead them.

  • Purposeful, inclusive business
  • Customer trust and transparency
  • Innovation-based business change
  • Technology acceleration.

The right leadership approach can transform these seemingly disruptive forces into competitive advantage. Our respondents told us the behaviours above will be key to responding to these trends and turning them into opportunities.

Unlock opportunity with ingenuity

The survivor-reviver divide

We asked respondents to identify as either ‘survivors’ – those focused on cost reduction and sustaining the pace of change – or ‘revivers’ – those focused on continued acceleration, transformation and investment in growth and innovation.


Revivers were likelier than survivors to recognise the importance of all four behaviours, and are:

  • More focused on looking beyond their own industry for inspiration, and on building evolving organisations
  • Likelier to act with more urgency, and to make more of a link between business and societal outcomes
  • More focused on leaving a positive legacy
  • More willing to change their leadership style for the greater good
  • Likelier to believe that the leaders of tomorrow will be more empathetic than today’s.

What ingenious leadership looks like

We’ve identified five steps that can transform leadership behaviour – across your top team and throughout your organisation.

  • Work in the growth zone – for leaders looking for ways to keep up with the relentless pace of change, leaning into acceleration is part of the answer.
  • Cultivate kindness – empower your people to try new things, take risks, and to do so safe in the knowledge that they won’t be targeted as a result.
  • Catalyse your internal disruptors – give more share of voice to the disruptors in your organisation, encouraging diversity in all forms to drive new thinking and being.
  • Make authenticity everything – harness the power of purpose to move from platitudes to plausibility, inspiring all stakeholders along the way
  • Create and embrace liminal spaces – shape new ways for people to connect, fostering a mindset that is comfortable with ambiguity.

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.