Leading and managing a sustainable and successful 21st Century Enterprise requires updated context, skills, frameworks, and vernacular.Pressures resulting from population growth and increasing consumerism have upended past assumptions related to limits. While the 19th century was characterized by limits of human capital and the 20th century was limited by financial capital, the 21st century will be limited by natural capital. Shared and improperly priced renewable resources (such as the air, the oceans and clean water) are being threatened by climate change and a host of other challenges. Other renewable resources (such as forests and fish stocks) are being consumed faster than they can be replenished and non-renewable resources (such as oil and metals) are being depleted faster than any time in human history. At the same time, transparency (enabled by technology), new modes of communication, and an ever increasing number of NGOs, are elevating consumer expectations of corporations. Finally, regulation is expanding in response to market inefficiencies and as a means of addressing externalities. While all of these changes are happening outside the walls of the corporation, they are so profound that they require a reexamination of the past modes of leadership and management inside the enterprise. For starters, leaders must reconsider the mission of their enterprise and identify and prioritize the stakeholders that the corporation is committed to serve. In addition, leaders will be challenged to reimagine the appropriate framework for the corporation, understanding newly extended boundaries of responsibility. Thoughtful leaders will also look around corners to try to understand the inter-relationships of heretofore not considered interactions and feedback loops.
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