Other parts of this series:
- What you need to know about leadership during a pandemic
- Have your stakeholders given you a “license to prosper?”
- The surprising leadership element at the centre of Microsoft's success
- How Engie's strong purpose translated into a strong bottom line
- This bank shows how to transition your people in a tech-rich future
- How to lead different generations at the same time
Of all the Responsible Leadership elements, Technology and Innovation seems the most attractive. Looking beyond the numbers, how do leaders themselves define responsible leadership?
Five Responsible Leadership element were identified by Accenture’s research in collaboration with the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers Community. I have given an overview of, and written about, how the other elements shape business in previous blogs in this series.
Our research showed that executives recognise that leaders of responsible businesses need to exhibit all Five Elements of Responsible Leadership (I have written about the other elements in previous blogs).
But executives from companies with stronger financial performance stand out by placing far more emphasis on Technology and Innovation.
Compared with executives, companies’ stakeholders see things differently. Consumers, employees and others have a far greater interest in leaders with highly developed Mission and Purpose, and Emotion and Intuition.
The gaps suggest that organisations—even today’s high performers—may find it hard to meet the expectations of wider society unless they modify their leadership qualities and seek a stronger and more balanced profile.
We have seen in earlier blogs in this series, focusing on the now trillion-dollar company Microsoft and the world’s largest energy company Engie, how developing the elements of Emotion and Intuition, and Mission and Purpose, can produce staggering results.
Microsoft and Engie used empathy and inspiration to help people deliver on their technical goals. Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) is doing it the other way around. It is using technology and innovation to deliver on its people goals.
UOB is Southeast Asia’s third-largest bank, with $285bn of assets under management.
It wanted to launch a digital-only offering, aimed at young customers in its Thai market.
With this came the realisation that the bank would need to prepare all 26,000 employees for a digital future.
In 2018, it raised its training budget by 22% to US$19-million.
In May the following year, it launched its mobile-only banking app. And not even six months later, it rolled out its technology-based upskilling initiative: a 12-week learning and development programme called “Better U.”
The programme delivers digital innovation skills as well as data and human-centred design skills. Crucially, it also prioritises a growth mindset and complex problem-solving skills.
UOB’s platform has learning tracks and the bank has devised career pathways using the platform. And it has set up a dedicated team to advise and guide employees as they navigate the future demands of their work.
As Head of Group HR, Dean Tong, explained: “Our philosophy as we head into the digital-first era is simple. We’re not going to leave any employee behind. [We designed the programme] to cater to all members of staff, irrespective of their age and their comfort level with both technology as well as learning.
“By designing an holistic development programme that covers both soft and technical skills, we are sowing the seeds of learning to prepare our people for successful careers in an industry that is undergoing significant change.”
By the end of 2020, he expects, at least 70% of all UOB employees globally will have completed the course.
This blog entry is about the Responsible Leadership element of Technology and Innovation. How does that element apply here?
It’s because Better U is a digital platform that delivers real-world results. It uses analytics to identify the most effective learning approaches and collaborates with local universities to customize training.
As with all of the case studies we have seen so far, when it comes to the Responsible Leadership Elements, all five are necessary. The underlying instinct driving UOB’s technology was to treat employees as its most important stakeholder. Only then does it make sense to deploy Technology and Innovation in a way that transforms the organisation.
Accenture and the World Economic Forum have produced a fascinating report about the Five Elements of Responsible Leadership, which synthesises insights with illustrative case studies. You can read it here: : Seeking New Leadership: Responsible leadership for and sustainable and equitable world.
I am always open to chat to you about how Accenture uses this and other research to share insights with our customers. And I read all the mail I receive. Feel free to reach out to me here.