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Leadership for Sustainable Futures

Achieving Success in a Competitive World

Gayle C. Avery

Many managers in the English-speaking world are seeking an alternative to the prevailing business model which promotes a short-term, shareholder-value approach. In this accessible and highly topical book, Gayle Avery argues that this Anglo/US approach to capitalism and business is seriously flawed and does not bring the quality of life to individuals and societies that many people seek. But what is the alternative and do business leaders have a different choice?
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Chapter 5: Systems and Processes

Gayle C. Avery


This chapter covers the elements in the Sustainable Leadership Grid that broadly affect systems and processes. It shows how the following elements operate in the case study organizations: attitudes towards the financial capital markets, innovation, knowledge management, quality and corporate sustainability in the sense of both social and environmental responsibility. At the end of the chapter, we see how even the publicly listed companies among the case study organizations display most elements of Rhineland leadership. The chapter concludes with a summary of the ways in which all the elements in the Sustainable Leadership Grid highlighted in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 interact to form a self-reinforcing system. But first, let us look at some systems and processes in the case study organizations. FINANCIAL MARKETS One of the most important tasks ahead for top management will be to balance the conflicting demands on business being made by the need for both short-term and long-term results and by various constituencies. (Peter Drucker333) A 2004 World Economic Forum survey of the world’s 1000 leading global companies revealed that 38 per cent of CEOs responding considered the financial capital markets as the leading threat to their corporation’s brand.334 They were concerned that short-term views may be distorting the accurate valuation of their companies. Unlike many Anglo/US corporations, most Rhineland public companies watch their share prices but do not allow them to drive the business.335 A comparison of US and European ownership and control has highlighted some of the differences between the Rhineland and...

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