On the eve of Climate Week NYC and the 78th session of high-level meetings of the UN General Assembly, The B Team convened a diverse group of leaders in New York City to catalyze leadership that places humanity at the heart of business purpose and business education. Participants came from the whole spectrum of the work ecosystem, from new talent just entering the workforce to established C-suite executives and Board directors.
Choosing courage over conformity
The event was hosted by Chobani CEO & founder (and B Team leader) Hamdi Ulukaya, whose unique perspective on the modern CEO's responsibilities — not just to their shareholders but also to their employees, customers and communities — informed a landmark TED Talk in 2019. His lecture then inspired The B Team’s own New Leadership Playbook, which includes resources and stories for catalyzing courageous leadership.
On September 17th, B Team leaders including Mo Ibrahim, Mary Robinson, Ester Baiget, Jacqueline Novogratz and Jesper Brodin sat alongside business school faculty and deans, board directors, entrepreneurs and young activists. Later in breakout sessions, small groups discussed how exactly to catalyze courageous leadership in a broken system.
Three priorities emerged:
First: Disrupt business education. Consensus among the group is that the current business school environment does not holistically prepare young leaders for the challenges ahead. Ideas emerged during (and since) the gathering, including actions to
Transform business school curriculum; and
Galvanize support for a "No more business schools as usual" statement, outlining steps that business leaders and educators can take to future-fit business education.
Second: Advocate to "right the rules" of the global economy. There are many well-intentioned initiatives in the sustainable business space, but regulatory laxness means that the most desirable outcomes are not fully rewarded. We must align incentives, from subsidies to carbon pricing to harmonizing ESG disclosures. And we invite everyone to join our B Team leaders in advancing our clarion call to governments for courageous leadership and renewed collaboration in the face of the climate crisis.
Third: Build communities of courage. Boardrooms are still suffering from a crisis of conformity; most of them do not reflect (nor benefit from) the diversity of the company's workforce and impacted communities. Collaboration with mission-aligned peers — within and beyond a company's confines — leads to new learnings and fresh insights and cultivates courage throughout the group.