Fortune’s Vatican 21st Century Challenge Conference: A Call to Action for E&C Leaders

 

Fortune’s Conference on “The 21st Century Challenge:  Forging A New Social Compact” took place at a time of disruption in our political environment globally and at a place – the Vatican – uniquely appropriate to discuss what business must do and how it must behave to help restore trust in capitalism.

LRN’s Dov Seidman had a very important opportunity to set the tone for the gathering of corporate CEOs and government leaders – Seidman’s kick off talk, in a dialogue with Fortune editor in chief Alan Murray, focused on “how the world has been reshaped, faster than we’ve been able to reshape ourselves, including our institutions, our businesses, and our leadership.  The implications are profound and the imperative is moral in nature.  We need to systematize the forces that bear on behavior.”

Ethics & Compliance leaders should feel an important focus on them and what they do in Seidman’s call to action, for a number of critical reasons.

  • First, the core of what companies believe and how those beliefs can be brought alive to shape behavior, can be captured in values-based codes of conduct that help employees around the world make sense of the choices they confront, the ways in which complex regulatory challenges and ethical dilemmas can be navigated, and where to turn to for assistance and guidance when they have questions or sense something doesn’t feel right.
  • Second, the evolution of ethics and compliance in the 21st century increasingly demands that E&C leaders help their companies shape culture and behavior, not just apply rules and design processes. In shaping culture through deep assessment of ‘what really happens around this place’ and endeavoring to translate and scale core company values into observable, measurable behavior, the ethics and compliance team, in partnership with business leadership, can help their companies find and maintain their core character even in turbulent times.
  • Third, E&C leaders can be at the forefront of helping their companies understand how the world, and the expectations of key stakeholders, have changed and the implications for how we make sense of our environments, assess risks, and educate our people in ways that are meaningful and suited to the vast changes we’re all experiencing in the demographics and communications modalities.

The challenge to business, and E&C leaders in particular, was captured in a pithy and direct manner in the exchange between Seidman and Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in this video, which is very much worth your time to view.