Business leaders need to step up to the challenge of climate change

World congress call for transformational leadership rather than incremental adjustment

Business leaders have been painfully slow to address the challenge of climate change according to Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas. Speaking at the 20th World Congress on Environment Management and Climate Change he told delegates: “Addressing climate change requires more than incremental adjustment. If sustainable lifestyles are to occur in both developing countries and the developed world, business, economic and social transformation are required.”

The author of “Winning Companies; Winning People” pointed out: “Some people define sustainability in terms of enabling existing operations, growth and development to continue. For others, sustainability is living within the boundaries of what is possible given the finite resources of our planet. Reconciling the two requires transformational leadership.”

He continued: “Many organisations need to operate differently and move more quickly. Boards making steady progress need to step up, provide transformational leadership, and embrace new models of organisation and business, and different strategies, methods of finance and forms of governance. However, many committed and well intentioned directors are comfortable with current practices. They feel successful, live well and consider they are doing a good job.”

The professor told attendees: “For most of my working life there have been a variety of options for transforming organisations, supply chains and how we operate. There have been a rich diversity in terms of how, when, where and with whom one could work, learn and acquire. They can have a beneficial impact upon the environment and reduce some of the drivers of climate change. Yet traffic jams and their associated pollution have increased.”

Coulson-Thomas finds: Many boards are only now looking at approaches, applications of technology, and business models that are far superior to current practices. Why the disinterest for so long? Are the laggards ignorant, lazy or just risk averse? Are they suffocating transformation? To provide environmental leadership, boards need to encourage diversity, challenge and creativity. They have to release potential, support innovation and inspire and enable entrepreneurship.”

The professor has been shocked by how slow most boards are to seize opportunities: “There were AI environments in the 1980s. Many so called disruptive technologies are not new. They are only disruptive for the complacent, unaware and idle. The alert, imaginative and energetic see them as enabling technologies. Too often there is awareness rather than application. Knowing about something does not mean that it will be used to transform how a company is organised, operates and creates value. Impact depends upon how knowledge is used and for what purpose.”

Coulson-Thomas finds laggards abound: “Struggling UK retail chains announce store closures and seek arrangements with their creditors. Their CEOs and directors cite changing purchasing habits such as buying on-line as the reason for their discomfort. On-line shopping is hardly new. Twenty five years ago natives in the Amazon basin were selling their craft wares via the internet. I wondered why companies run by highly paid business school graduates and advised by leading professional firms were not as imaginative.”

The professor’s investigations raise certain questions “Why are so many companies so slow to seize opportunities and so determined to stick with outdated business models and protect past investments rather than create new options and choices? Is improvement rather than creating new options and choices opting out or a comfort blanket? Will boards have the courage to call time on profitable activities that make unsustainable demands on natural resources? Will they work with customers to create less environmentally damaging business models, offerings and lifestyles?”

He continued: “Many boards follow rather than lead. They hope that something will turn up. Boards should inspire and make things happen. Are people in your company brought together in mixed discipline groups and asked to come up with more sustainable alternatives? Are key customers and their staff involved? What would they rather have? What would better enable them to achieve their sustainability objectives?

The professor concluded: “Scientific and technological developments allow us to change aspects of the natural world and create new forms of basic life. Answers to questions such as what a company should do differently that would benefit the environment are often constrained by experience of current practices. Blue skies thinking might be easier to find in a local school than in a firm of consultants. We need to get directors who feel they have arrived to realise that they have not yet started to provide the leadership required to address environmental issues and the challenge of climate change. What should we do differently tomorrow as a result of what we learn today?”

The World Congress on Environment Management and Climate Change 2018 is one of five annual international events organised by India’s Institute of Directors and for which Prof Coulson-Thomas provides the theme papers. Over 550 delegates attended and they were addressed by speakers from IFAD, the United Nations and World Bank and from Finland, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, the UAE, the UK and the US.

Prof. (Dr) Colin Coulson-Thomas, President of the Institute of Management Services and chairman of Adaptation, has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. In addition to directorships he leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus, is Director-General, IOD India, UK and Europe, chair of United Learning’s Risk and Audit Committee, Chancellor at the School for the Creative Arts, Honorary Professor at the Aston India Foundation for Applied Research, a Distinguished Professor at the Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Management-Research and a Visiting Professor of Direction and Leadership at Lincoln International Business School.

An experienced chairman of award winning companies and vision holder of successful transformation programmes, Colin is the author of over 60 books and reports. He has held public appointments at local, regional and national level and professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. He was educated at the London School of Economics, London Business School, UNISA and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California. He is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and obtained first place prizes in the final exams of three professions. Details of his most recent books and reports can be found on: http://www.policypublications.com/

13/07/18

Adaptation Chairman receives Honorary Fellowship award at world congress

Honorary fellowship recipient calls for climate change action before it is too late

Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas, chairman of Adaptation was presented with an Honorary Fellowship of India’s Insitute of Directors (IOD) in a ceremony at the end of the second day of the 20th World Congress on Environment Management and Climate Change. The presentation was made by Lt Gen J S Ahluwalia PVSM the President of IOD which organises this annual event.

The Adaptation chairman’s plenary talk on the first day of the congress on the theme of “Transformational Board Leadership for Sustainability” was his 50th speech or presentation to an international conference, world congress or global convention organised by the IOD. He was presented with a framed certificate of his membership as an Honorary Fellow and also prepared conclusions and recommendations. The congress was held in the Sovereign Hall of the Hotel Le Méridien, New Delhi, India. The theme of the 2018 event was Transformational Leadership for Promoting Climate Resilient Economic Growth.

The world congress is one of five annual international events organised by India’s Institute of Directors and for which Prof Coulson-Thomas provides theme papers. Over 550 delegates attended and they were addressed by speakers from IFAD, the United Nations and World Bank and from Finland, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, UAE, UK and US.

In another ceremony on the second day Prof Coulson-Thomas signed an IOD-IMS MOU in his role as President of the Institute of Management Services. He said “I cannot imagine another institute anywhere in the world that I would rather be a member of. Since its formation over 25 years ago IOD has led in so many fields, initiating conferences on topics long before they topped boardroom agendas. It is also a loyal MOU partner and I look forward to many years of future collaboration.”

In his conclusions the professor questioned: “Should it be onwards and upwards in terms of output, growth and development, or are we working towards our own downfall? Are we storing up problems that might overwhelm future generations? Are we putting sticking plasters on the wounds we are causing, rather than letting in fresh air and fresh thinking? Are some directors and boards the problem rather than part of the solution? Are incremental improvements merely reducing the environmental damage being done? Might we need to accept lower growth rates in order to achieve a more sustainable, simpler and healthier lifestyle?”

Coulson-Thomas’ conclusions challenge directors: “Do you have the courage to reinvent and lead your companies in a new direction? Will you champion the adoption of new and more sustainable business models and lifestyles? Do you view the sharing economy as a threat or do you see it as an arena of opportunity in which with the right business model you could build a new global business that is more valuable than your current one?”

Coulson-Thomas argues that directors should question and probe: “Electric cars may sound great, but where will all the lithium for the batteries come from? What about the emissions from the power stations that generate the electricity? What about disposal of the batteries and used solar panels?” He believes: “The cost, disruption and pain of delaying the business, economic and social transformation we need are likely to rise exponentially. Many boards need to be faster and more flexible in responding to challenges and opportunities. ”

The professor believes: “Directors need to think “circular economy” and consider the life cycle impacts of corporate offerings. Sustainability discussions need to embrace supply chains. More thought should be given to technological solutions to pollution and climate change issues. Reinvention and changes of direction are required. While one has a directorial role it is never too late to exert transformational leadership. Do it now so that in future you will have few regrets. Do it while you can still exert influence and have a beneficial impact.”

Prof. (Dr) Colin Coulson-Thomas, President of the Institute of Management Services and chairman of Adaptation, has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. In addition to directorships he leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus, is Director-General, IOD India, UK and Europe, chair of United Learning’s Risk and Audit Committee, Chancellor at the School for the Creative Arts, Honorary Professor at the Aston India Foundation for Applied Research, a Distinguished Professor at the Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Management-Research and a Visiting Professor of Direction and Leadership at Lincoln International Business School.

An experienced chairman of award winning companies and vision holder of successful transformation programmes, Colin is the author of over 60 books and reports. He has held public appointments at local, regional and national level and professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. He was educated at the London School of Economics, London Business School, UNISA and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California. He is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and obtained first place prizes in the final exams of three professions. Details of his most recent books and reports can be found on: http://www.policypublications.com/

13/07/18

Innovation and excellence need to be focused, relevant and sustainable

Global convention and world congress call to avoid unnecessary, wasteful and unsustainable change

Can one have too much innovation? According to Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas speaking at a global convention and world congress in Dubai: “Much effort is devoted to improving areas that are not critical success factors or a source of competitive advantage or differentiation. Activities are also improved that may no longer be required. The focus should be on changes that represent value for customers and are a source of competitive advantage.”

Where resources are scarce, the Adaptation chairman and author of Winning Companies; Winning People suggests it is irresponsible to seek to be excellent in areas that are not priorities: “The pursuit of improvement and/or innovation regardless of cost and relevance can be unnecessary, wasteful and unsustainable.”

Coulson-Thomas reminded delegates that: ”It is customers who create value. Companies generate wasted effort, dead ends, scrap and unwanted stock unless what they offer is purchased by customers. They decide whether or not what we do is relevant and represents excellence and innovation.” He warned: “Many changes are motivated by a desire for cost savings. They are for the convenience of a supplier, rather than to benefit a customer. Excellence, improvement and innovation should be relevant and value adding to customers and users.”.

The Adaptation chairman raised the questions of whether governance arrangements excessively favour shareholders and keep customers and other stakeholders at a distance and whether we need new ways of engaging them and securing their allegiance: “The requirements and views of important stakeholders should be taken into account. Key customers and trusted business partners can be consulted on excellence and innovation priorities.”

Coulson-Thomas emphasised: “Organisations face multiple challenges and opportunities and effective responses can require change, reinvention or transformation. Collaboration and co-creation with customers and business partners can enable a collective search for ideas, options and solutions that go beyond the limits of the imagination of a few people and the capabilities of a single organisation. Creativity, innovation, excellence and entrepreneurship should be helped rather than hindered by corporate policies and practices. They should be focused, relevant and sustainable.”

The Adaptation chairman suggested: “In some situations it may be irresponsible and fatal not to change. We need to decide what to cherish and what to alter, and whether continuity, improvement or transformation is required. We should avoid excessive prescription, overly tight guidelines and rigid rules in favour of greater freedom, openness and diversity. We should encourage questioning and challenge. Make sure your board’s strategic direction is still valid. Regularly review your aspirations to ensure they reflect new possibilities and still inspire.”

Coulson-Thomas finds: “Board policies and practices can prevent questioning, creativity and positive change. The rituals of board meetings and ingrained habits of directors insulate them from new options. We should not expect risk averse and unimaginative boards to unleash creativity and ignite innovation. Incurring risk is evidence that you are alive and trying to accomplish something. Contemporary risk management practices can be an obstacle to innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The Professor also pointed out: “We need to balance short-term market, competitive and other pressures with longer-term challenges such as ensuring environmental sustainability and coping with climate change. We are excellent at polluting oceans and creative in our use of materials that do not easily degrade. Greater priority should be given to re-use and circularity – arranging activities so that a waste product from one process becomes a welcome input to another.”

Coulson-Thomas also feels: “We need a broader perspective and a more inclusive approach to excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship to ensure they address the aspirations of a wider range of stakeholders. Standard business excellence and governance models should be replaced by bespoke approaches that are right for a company’s aspirations, situation and stage of development.

More consultation, a social purpose and greater attention to sustainability might help to ensure that excellence and innovation are relevant, appropriate and acceptable. They might also restore public trust in companies, markets and capitalism.”

The Dubai Global Convention 2018 and 28th World Congress on Leadership for Business Excellence and Innovation was organised by India’s Institute of Directors and held at the Hotel St. Regis, Dubai, UAE. Its theme was transformative leadership for fostering creativity, innovation and business excellence.  

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, chairman of Adaptation and author of Winning Companies; Winning People, Developing Directors, Talent Management 2, Transforming Public Services and Transforming Knowledge Management has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. Details of his most recent books and reports can be found on: http://www.policypublications.com/

24/05/18

CSR Lifetime Achievement Award conferred on campaigner, author and international board adviser

Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas encourages business leaders at the 2018 India CSR Leadership Summit

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, Cornish campaigner, author, academic, board adviser and Adaptation chairman has been honored by India CSR with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his “outstanding contribution to the CSR space” and “in appreciation of his excellent contribution to the worlds of Corporate Governance and Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR)” at the 2018 India CSR Leadership Summit and Awards held in New Delhi. According to the citation: “He has been making a difference and creating a positive impact among business leaders across the globe.”.

In a recorded message Prof Coulson-Thomas told delegates at the CSR Leadership Summit “There are probably more opportunities to have a beneficial social impact in India than anywhere else on our shared planet. Today, there are also more possibilities for social entrepreneurship than perhaps at any time in human history. We stand simultaneously at multiple cross roads, tipping points and watersheds. In many areas, incremental change may not be enough. You are in a unique position to provide leadership, inspire creativity and enable innovation. For those who want to have an impact, leave a legacy and make a difference this is arguably the best time ever to be alive.”

Coulson-Thomas issued a call to business leaders: “There is an urgent need for leadership and leaders who can leave footprints of hope in the history of human development and erect signposts to a better future. There are aspirations to be raised and capabilities to be assembled to match them. There are people and communities to be supported and helped. There are dreams to turn into realities. You can be in the vanguard of re-connecting, refreshing and reinventing. You can champion responsible business leadership. You can exude caring capitalism. Your enterprises and foundations can build bridges with excluded communities and between the generations and the public and private sectors. They can replace anxiety with hope, by helping those who fear certain developments to identify the possibilities they create and benefit from them. ”

The author of Winning Companies; Winning People advocated positive action: “Don’t waste a second of your time or that of the people for whom you are responsible on trivia or the transient. Don’t lurk behind imaginary prison bars, or be limited by dated assumptions, ingrained habits or past experience. Don’t let negative instincts, risk aversion or a compliance culture snuff out ideas or limit imagination. Incurring risk is evidence that you are alive and trying to accomplish something. Try to ensure that all corporate conduct and activities are acceptable, appropriate and responsible. ”

Rusen Kumar, Founder and Managing Editor of the India CSR Group said, “The India CSR Lifetime Achievement Award is an acknowledgement of Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas’s contributions to the areas of corporate responsibility, social and sustainable development, and human resources. We wish him a happy and healthy life ahead to carry on with his mission to make a positive contribution to the larger good.”

The 2018 India CSR Leadership Summit and Awards took place in the Lakshmipat Singhania Auditorium at PHD House, New Delhi. India. Because of a prior commitment to speak at global convention and world congress in Dubai for which he had provided the theme paper, Prof Coulson-Thomas was unable to attend the event in person. Pradeep Chaturvedi, Vice President of the Institute of Directors and the World Environment Foundation received the award on his behalf.

Prof (Dr) Colin Coulson-Thomas, Chairman of Adaptation and President of the Institute of Management Services has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. He is the author of of over sixty books and reports, including Winning Companies; Winning People, Developing Directors, Transforming Knowledge Management, Talent Management 2 and Developing Directors: a handbook for building an effective boardroom team.

Prof Coulson-Thomas  leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus and is Director-General, IOD India, UK and Europe, Chair of United Learning’s Risk and Audit Committee, Chancellor of the School for the Creative Arts, Honorary Professor at the Aston India Foundation for Applied Research, a Distinguished Professor at the Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Management-Research, Visiting Professor of Direction and Leadership at Lincoln International Business School and serves on the advisory boards of Bridges of Sports and the Arvind Foundation.

An experienced chairman of award winning companies and process vision holder of successful transformation programmes, Colin has held UK public appointments at local, regional and national level and professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. He was educated at the London School of Economics, London Business School, UNISA and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California. He is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and obtained first place prizes in the final exams of three professions. Details of his most recent books and reports can be found on: http://www.policypublications.com/

27/04/18

CSR Lifetime Achievement Award conferred on campaigner, author and international board adviser

Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas encourages business leaders at the 2018 India CSR Leadership Summit

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, Cornish campaigner, author, academic, board adviser and Adaptation chairman has been honored by India CSR with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his “outstanding contribution to the CSR space” and “in appreciation of his excellent contribution to the worlds of Corporate Governance and Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR)” at the 2018 India CSR Leadership Summit and Awards held in New Delhi. According to the citation: “He has been making a difference and creating a positive impact among business leaders across the globe.”.

In a recorded message Prof Coulson-Thomas told delegates at the CSR Leadership Summit “There are probably more opportunities to have a beneficial social impact in India than anywhere else on our shared planet. Today, there are also more possibilities for social entrepreneurship than perhaps at any time in human history. We stand simultaneously at multiple cross roads, tipping points and watersheds. In many areas, incremental change may not be enough. You are in a unique position to provide leadership, inspire creativity and enable innovation. For those who want to have an impact, leave a legacy and make a difference this is arguably the best time ever to be alive.”

Coulson-Thomas issued a call to business leaders: “There is an urgent need for leadership and leaders who can leave footprints of hope in the history of human development and erect signposts to a better future. There are aspirations to be raised and capabilities to be assembled to match them. There are people and communities to be supported and helped. There are dreams to turn into realities. You can be in the vanguard of re-connecting, refreshing and reinventing. You can champion responsible business leadership. You can exude caring capitalism. Your enterprises and foundations can build bridges with excluded communities and between the generations and the public and private sectors. They can replace anxiety with hope, by helping those who fear certain developments to identify the possibilities they create and benefit from them. ”

The author of Winning Companies; Winning People advocated positive action: “Don’t waste a second of your time or that of the people for whom you are responsible on trivia or the transient. Don’t lurk behind imaginary prison bars, or be limited by dated assumptions, ingrained habits or past experience. Don’t let negative instincts, risk aversion or a compliance culture snuff out ideas or limit imagination. Incurring risk is evidence that you are alive and trying to accomplish something. Try to ensure that all corporate conduct and activities are acceptable, appropriate and responsible. ”

Rusen Kumar, Founder and Managing Editor of the India CSR Group said, “The India CSR Lifetime Achievement Award is an acknowledgement of Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas’s contributions to the areas of corporate responsibility, social and sustainable development, and human resources. We wish him a happy and healthy life ahead to carry on with his mission to make a positive contribution to the larger good.”

The 2018 India CSR Leadership Summit and Awards took place in the Lakshmipat Singhania Auditorium at PHD House, New Delhi. India. Because of a prior commitment to speak at global convention and world congress in Dubai for which he had provided the theme paper, Prof Coulson-Thomas was unable to attend the event in person. Pradeep Chaturvedi, Vice President of the Institute of Directors and the World Environment Foundation received the award on his behalf.

Prof (Dr) Colin Coulson-Thomas, Chairman of Adaptation and President of the Institute of Management Services has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve director, board and corporate performance. He is the author of of over sixty books and reports, including Winning Companies; Winning People, Developing Directors, Transforming Knowledge Management, Talent Management 2 and Developing Directors: a handbook for building an effective boardroom team.

Prof Coulson-Thomas  leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus and is Director-General, IOD India, UK and Europe, Chair of United Learning’s Risk and Audit Committee, Chancellor of the School for the Creative Arts, Honorary Professor at the Aston India Foundation for Applied Research, a Distinguished Professor at the Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Management-Research, Visiting Professor of Direction and Leadership at Lincoln International Business School and serves on the advisory boards of Bridges of Sports and the Arvind Foundation.

An experienced chairman of award winning companies and process vision holder of successful transformation programmes, Colin has held UK public appointments at local, regional and national level and professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. He was educated at the London School of Economics, London Business School, UNISA and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California. He is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and obtained first place prizes in the final exams of three professions. Details of his most recent books and reports can be found on: http://www.policypublications.com/

04/04/18

Isolated CSR initiatives are not enough to restore public trust in business

New publications to encourage discussion at an international conference call for business leaders to adopt broader approaches to more responsible business  

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is sometimes justified as good business sense and as a way of building or rebuilding trust and reputation. Trust in business is at a low level in many countries, but two new publications by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas suggest that if it is to be re-established and restored, more than worthy words from the CEO and a few CSR projects with related images in an Annual Report may be required.   

The author of Winning Companies; Winning People challenges the approaches to CSR being adopted by many companies: “Would cynicism and distrust be better addressed by being more open, honest and innovative, paying more attention to a wider range of stakeholder interests, a different business model or adding more value? Rather than decorating the icing, should the emphasis be upon improving the cake or baking a better one?”

In a theme paper written for the 2018 and 12th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility and an article in Director Today Prof. Coulson-Thomas suggests a broader approach to becoming a more responsible business may be required. The two publications raise a variety of questions that could usefully be considered by directors and boards to encourage discussion at the forthcoming international conference which is to be held in Bengaluru, India

Coulson-Thomas believes there are five steps that corporate boards need to take: “First they should clarify their accountabilities. Secondly, they must understand the interests, requirements and aspirations of customers, employees, business partners, investors, local communities and other stakeholders. Thirdly they need to decide the nature and extent of their responsibilities to different stakeholders. Next they must establish criteria and guidelines for allocating effort and forming relationships. Finally they have to decide how to assess, learn from and report the resulting activity.

The professor believes the benefits of appropriate action in terms of identifying new business, collaboration and co-creation opportunities, forging new and mutually beneficial relationships, and unleashing greater engagement, creativity and commitment can exceed the costs: “While there are challenges, there are also unprecedented opportunities for companies to be more responsible, use corporate cababilities in new ways, collaborate, have a beneficial social impact and restore trust and respect in business, corporate leadership, enterprise and entrepreneurship.”

The 2018 and 12th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility is organised by India’s Institute of Directors. The two publications by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas can be obtained from the institute’s website: firstly the Theme Paper for the event: Responsible CSR: A New Agenda Beyond Governance (http://www.iodglobal.com/images/csr2018/iccsr2018-theme-paper.pdf) and secondly his article in the January issue of Director Today on ‘The Responsibility of Being Responsible’ (http://iodglobal.com/publications/new-articles.html).

In addition to his professorial and leadership appointments. Dr Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of Winning Companies; Winning People and Developing Directors, a handbook for building an effective boardroom team is IOD India’s Director General, UK and Europe. Details of his most recent books and evidence based research reports on critical success factors for key corporate activities and quicker, more affordable and less disruptive ways of building high performance organisations and simultaneously delivering multiple benefits can be obtained from Policy Publications: http://www.policypublications.com/

20/01/18

Press release on RIMS conference speech

The risk management community needs to review its role, contribution and professionalism according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas who delivered the opening keynote address at RIMS ERM Conference 2017. Speaking in Los Angeles, California, USA, the advocate of quicker, more affordable and less disruptive ways of increasing performance and productivity while simultaneously controlling risk, ensuring compliance, enabling innovation and achieving a range of other objectives, said:

“Some directors and boards and some governance, compliance and risk management practices have become a “hinder” rather than a “help”. The perspectives of some risk managers need to broaden to embrace networks and supply and value chains. Contemporary risk management needs to be less of a compliance and overhead cost and more of an enabler of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Risk management professionals should become more of a partner in innovation and more of a positive contributor of value. They should look beyond the reporting of risks, and contribute more to dealing with them and identifying and exploiting related opportunities.

“More risk managers should focus on the support of decision making. They must move on from giving advice on how to prevent downsides and also roll up their sleeves and help their colleagues to achieve upsides.

“Responsible risk taking is essential for innovation. Encountering risk is evidence that one is alive and trying to accomplish something. Governance, compliance and risk management frameworks need to become continually adapting and learning systems.

“Applications of performance support can rapidly improve outcomes, ensure compliance, reduce and contain risk, and deliver a variety of other improvements. Incorporating checks and blockers into support tools can prevent outputs that would represent commercial, quality, legal or regulatory risks and enable bespoke responses.”

Details of evidence based research reports by Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas on quicker, more affordable and less disruptive ways of increasing performance and productivity while simultaneously controlling risk, ensuring compliance, enabling innovation and achieving a range of other objectives can be obtained from Policy Publications: http://www.policypublications.com/

26/11/2017

Honorary Fellowship for Champion of Affordable Ways of Increasing Productivity

Investigations reveal huge potential for most organisations to boost productivity, transform performance and simultaneously deliver a range of other benefits

“Increasing productivity is a matter of choice rather than a mystery” according to Adaptation chairman Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas. Speaking after the UK’s 2017 autumn budget statement which downgraded growth forecasts on account of stagnant productivity he pointed out that his research reports provide an affordable route to high performance organisations: “The evidence is clear. Most of the companies examined could quickly increase productivity and performance.”

Coulson-Thomas also outlined his conclusions in a speech on addressing the stagnant productivity challenge faced by the UK at the 2017 AGM of the Institute of Management Services. He was attending the AGM to receive an Honorary Fellowship. According to Coulson-Thomas: “There are much quicker, more affordable and less disruptive routes to high performance organisations than the approaches which many organisations adopt. They can simultaneously deliver multiple objectives. Importantly, they can work with whatever people, corporate cultures, and organisational structures we already have. They can be unaffected by legacy systems.”

The Author of Winning Companies; Winning People has set out in three evidence based research reports with case study examples how applications of performance support in different organisations and sectors can rapidly transform performance, ensure compliance. reduce costs, contain risks and deliver a variety of other improvements for people, organisations and the environment. He stressed: “Too many organisations restructure and adopt programmes that are expensive and time consuming.”

The Professor found: “Traditional approaches to compliance and risk management can increase overhead costs, cause delays and result in key work groups focusing upon compliance rather than customers. Incorporating checks and blockers into support tools can enable responsible risk taking, bespoke responses and the creation of new solutions. They can prevent outputs that would represent commercial, quality, legal or regulatory risks.”

He continued: “Support tools can make it much easier for people to behave in preferred ways. They can make it very difficult or impossible for them to behave in undesired ways. Personalised and relevant support can be made available 24/7, wherever and whenever needed, including when people are on the move. It can be continually updated. It can also be interactive and can incorporate and facilitate social networking.”

Coulson-Thomas has led over twenty investigations leading to research reports that set out critical success factors for activities that are crucial for continuing corporate success, such as winning business, building customer relationships, purchasing, pricing, corporate learning and managing intellectual property. Over 2,000 companies and over 500 professional firms participated in the studies. He discovered: “Even top quartile performers are only very effective at half of the identified critical success factors for an activity such as competitive bidding. The evidence assembled suggests the performance of most companies could be quickly improved.”

The Adaptation chairman explained: “Support tools can capture and share what top performers do differently. They can enable average performers to adopt the winning ways of these higher performing super-stars. The support they provide can reflect our individual understanding. They can learn and be continually updated, for example as offerings and regulations change. They can evolve to match the changing requirements and competences of users.”

Coulson-Thomas concludes: “Performance support tools can quickly deliver large multiple returns on the cost of developing them. They can also address traditional trade-offs such as that between risk and return by both reducing risk and increasing return. At the same time, because checks and balances can be built into them, support tools can set people free to be creative, innovative and entrepreneurial. Productivity challenges can be addressed at the level of the individual enterprise.”

More widely Coulson-Thomas explained that management services practitioners need new and interdisciplinary approaches as less work is undertaken by people, and their perspectives need to embrace networks and supply and value chains and combinations of people, robots and other machines, AI and other software and digital and disruptive technologies: “Many practitioners have extensive experience of how to improve the productivity of work-groups and teams in certain situations. Increasingly, the challenge is to examine how people, machines and digital technologies can best work together in new contexts and as business models change.”

Details of evidence based research reports by Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas on critical success factors for key corporate activities and quicker, more affordable and less disruptive ways of increasing performance and productivity while simultaneously controlling risk, ensuring compliance, enabling innovation and achieving a range of other objectives can be obtained from Policy Publications: http://www.policypublications.com/

26/11/17

Sport can be a Catalyst of Conservation

Sport can be a catalyst of conservation according to Adaptation chairman Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of Winning Companies; Winning People and a member of the Advisory Board of Bridges of Sports:

“World Conservation Day reminds us of of the fragility of our natural environment, much of which is under threat from human activities, whether directly as a result of the deforestation and exploitation caused by relentless development or indirectly as a result of the impact of climate change and the global warming that is a consequence of it. Much needs to be done to protect precious natural environments and habitats and reduce the loss of biodiversity and natural capital.

Limiting Environmental Damage

“Each year World Conservation Day prompts the question of what each of us is doing and could or should do to help us transition to more sustainable activities, practices and lifestyles. What steps can we take to interact more sustainably with nature? What can be done to encourage more people to actively participate in activities to protect, conserve and sustainably manage our natural resources?

“When aggregated many of our personal consumption patterns cause considerable environmental damage. As concerns grow about the adverse environmental consequences of our industrial and disposable society, whether mountains of rubbish or climate change, will more consumers and investors change their aspirations, expectations and requirements? Are there routes to more sustainable and fulfilling lives in greater harmony with the natural world?

“Environmental issues are not new. In Roman times manufacturing and processing activities had a negative  impact on the environment. More recent practices such as built in obsolescence could be reduced if we reduced our consumption of manufactured goods that consume greater amounts of natural capital put more emphasis upon different and more satisfying activities.

Adopting More Sustainable Activities

“Compared with many other sectors sporting activities have a limited environmental impact. They tend to build health, comradeship and physical prowess rather than consume natural resources. If the emphasis switched from polluting activities and the consumption of manufactured goods to participating in, sharing and enjoying sport, it could lead to simpler, more active, healthier and more inclusive and sustainable lifestyles.

“Sport and keep fit activities and creative endeavours, can all reflect changing values, concerns and aspirations. They can create opportunities for those who might otherwise be marginalised or redundant to participate, offer one-to-one personal services, engage in communal activities and experience a higher quality of life. More active lifestyles can improve mental and physical health.

“In an age of global brands, more people may want to find ways of being true to themselves and what is unique, special or different about them. We are not categories, statistics or trends but individual human beings with distinct interests and preferences. There are such a wide range of sports that most people should be able to find one or more that they can relate to. We can become active participants rather than passive recipients of other people’s messages.

“How we use our skills, tools and technologies and for what purpose determines the extent to which they help or harm us. Consumer behaviour may change as more people become aware of the consequences of their purchasing decisions. Sport can be participative, but also observed and enjoyed by others. It can have a multiplier effect. Its externalities can be positive. Sport enriches lives. It can overcome the urban-rural divide and boundaries of social class and creed.

Reconnecting with the Natural World

“More people are seeking refuge in virtual worlds. What can we do to involve them in the real and natural world? Advances in connectivity have boosted digital interaction and social networking. How might we restore and build physical and community interaction? Sport and sporting activity can help people to physically interact, reconnect with nature and support conservation.

“Many sports require and involve direct contact with the natural world. Marathon running and cycling can take people out into the countryside. Aquatic sports include canoeing, diving, rowing and swimming. Sailing involves interaction with natural forces such as currents, tides and the wind. Winter sports depend upon the seasons and require slopes and snow.

“Sporting activities can reconnect us to the natural world. They can inspire, motivate and develop inner strength. Team sports develop social skills. People can express themselves, collaborate and discover how the whole can be more than the sum of the parts. They can learn to respect themselves and appreciate the roles and contributions of others. Barriers to entry to some sports are low, while for others a basic infrastructure exists and could be developed with will and collective support.

Inclusion and Participation

“Sport can address a range of social issues. Participation in sporting activities can represent an alternative to boredom, feelings of inadequacy, delinquency, drug taking and crime. Different sports offer scope for philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. They can represent a cause and a collective endeavour for teams, supporters and local communities.

“Successful sportsmen and women can represent healthy role models. In sport, cheating and doping are discouraged. Umpires, referees and officials endeavour to ensure that certain norms of behaviour are observed, there is mutual respect between participants, the rules of the sport are obeyed and that competition is fair.

“Sport can break down many barriers. It can embrace groups who have in the past been excluded or sidelined. It can provide ladders of advancement for those who do not excel academically. People can often go as far as their will, commitment and talent will take them. Success in the paralympics could be the ultimate ambition of the disabled athelete.

Bridges of Sports

“Sport has the potential to reach all groups in society, whether as participants or as supporters. Sport should be for all and not just a few. Nitish Chiniwar, the founder of Bridges of Sports, is keen to reach beyond urban areas and create participation opportunities for the rural poor, overlooked communities and the disabled.  He is keen to ensure that sport’s potential for greater inclusion embraces those who are or could be at a disadvantage and reaches hitherto excluded groups.

“Bridges of Sports is a non-profit organisation that is working towards creating a sustainable sports ecosystem in India. It catalyses the identification and nurturing of grass-roots athletes by developing and deploying coaches in schools, catering especially to socially and economically backward communities. Participants in its fellowship programme are already at work in schools coaching children in a range of sports.

“Greater involvement in sport could help the transition to a more sustainable, stable and post-industrial society where there is less pressure upon the environment and the impacts of digital and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics create more time for activities other than work. It could improve the well being of the present and future generations and reconnect healthier people to a healthier environment.”

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas regularly provides theme papers for international conferences concerned with sustainability and the environment. He leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus, is Director-General, UK and Europe, IOD India, Honorary Professor at the Aston-India Centre for Applied Research, a Distinguished Professor at the Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Management-Research and a member of the advisory board of Bridges of Sports. Details of his latest books and reports on how to excel at a range of activities and what high performers do differently can be found on: http://www.policypublications.com/

29/07/17

Institute Appoints New President

The Institute of Management Services has appointed Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas as its President. He is the sixth President of the Institute, previous presidents having been Lord Beeching, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Monty Finniston, The Lord Chilver of Cranfield and Viscount Thurso.

Professor Coulson-Thomas is a visionary who has championed new ways of organising, working and learning, been the vision holder of major and successful transformation projects and the chairman of award winning companies, including for innovation at national and international level. He has also served on local, regional and national UK public sector boards and many professional, voluntary and representative bodies, including as chairman and/or president.  

He has advised corporations and public bodies in over 40 countries on improving director, board, work-group and corporate contribution, productivity and performance, spoken at over 200 major corporate events and national and international conferences, and led more than 20 investigations to identify the critical success factors for key corporate activities and quicker, more affordable and less disruptive routes to high performance organisations.

Since becoming the Willmott Dixon Professor in 1994 while a faculty dean and campus head he has travelled the world taking professorial appointments at universities on nearly every continent. His current roles include being an Honorary Professor at the Aston India Foundation for Applied Research, a Distinguished Professor at the Sri Sharada Institute of Indian Management-Research, and a Visiting Professor of Direction and Leadership at Lincoln International Business School.

While recognised as a leading expert in corporate governance, learning and transformation, competitiveness, direction and leadership, human resources and organisational behaviour, he has written over 60 books and reports and well over 1000 articles, book chapters and conference theme papers and given multiple media interviews while on lecture tours.

His international roles include leadership of an international governance initiative which has involved him in activities and projects in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and being the Director-General, UK and Europe for India’s Institute of Directors, a founder member of the advisory board of Bridges of Sports and Chancellor of the School for the Creative Arts. His non-profit roles include being chair of the group risk and audit committee of United Learning.

He was educated at the London School of Economics, the London Business School, UNISA and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California, is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and obtained first place prizes in the final exams of three professions.

Colin has expressed his delight on being invited to accept the position of President of the Institute of Management Services as he has really enjoyed his long association and membership of the Institute.  He sees the Institute’s commitment to expounding the role of productivity as being a key factor in making companies more efficient and in raising living standards. He is particularly keen to expand the Institute’s sphere of influence into the African and Asian continents and the Middle East.  He stated, “There is much to be done nationally and internationally and I will do my best to promote the Institute and its work in my writing and speaking”.

The Institute Chairman Julian Cutler said, “I am delighted that Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas has agreed to become the Institute’s President as he is a long-standing member of the Institute and will make an excellent President and fulfil an ambassadorial role by projecting the image of Institute of Management Services to the world at large”.

Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas, the Cornish campaigner, author, academic and corporate adviser, is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Management Services on account of having made an outstanding contribution in the field of business and productivity improvement over many years and is a regular contributor to the Institute’s Journal Management Services having written numerous articles on productivity, performance, management and leadership topics.

Information on the qualifications, publications and levels of membership of the Institute of Management Services can be obtained from admin@ims-productivity.com

Note to Editors:

Formal and informal portraits of Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas and images of him speaking at various events are available on request. The new president can be contacted via Colin Coulson-Thomas