“People will be destroyed by climate change, not the planet.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at WEF2020. Leadership is more crucial than ever. 

By Francesca d'Arcangeli
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Greta Thunberg lambasted leaders at Davos this year for potentially annihilating the world’s population. Salvation lies in hiring the right leaders to manage our greatest asset and greatest threat, water. But who are they? 

The answers are in our new report, ‘The New World of Water: growing scarcity, complex hydro-politics and the major threat to global business’. Here we offer perspectives from early movers #Tenaris and #Xylem, together with commentary from our water experts, on how digital solutions are revolutionising water use in agricultural, domestic and industrial areas. 

As we face our own extinction through the loss of Arctic Ice Caps, our greatest asset, water, will become our greatest threat. Challenges around climate change, extinction and sustainability form the backdrop to Boyden’s work in meeting the leadership and consulting needs of our industrial clients.  

With different approaches to water management now mission critical, Boyden explores new priorities in leadership; the technical, management and personal skills required; and how water diplomacy is key to our survival through global collaboration. 

Commenting in the report, Paola Mazzoleni, CHRO at Tenaris, a global supplier of pipes to the energy industry says, “Companies operate in more complex areas, both geographically and commercially. This is changing the whole approach to leadership and talent pipelines, with much broader competencies required alongside technical capabilities and a more formal approach to recruitment and retention”.

Lidia Messellod, Vice President HR, Global Supply Chain at Xylem, explains, “Over the next three to five years, measurement and control will see huge growth. The leadership perspective we look for today is both local and global. Local in terms of regulatory awareness and global in terms of knowing where water could be a problem in a country, and the ability to anticipate issues. Historically a ‘comfortable’ business, water sector leaders now have to take a 360-degree view, and adapt their approach and ways of working to a fast-changing world”. 

Hydro-politics has come to the fore as a relatively new discipline, as diplomacy governs water management. Former Ambassador Ram Aviram, who runs multi-disciplinary consulting agency #BIT, explains, “Most of the world’s water utilities are in the political system, so if you don’t understand the politics behind a CEO appointment at a water utility for example, you will not be able to do your work. You need to understand the variety of stakeholders on different sides of water resources, the balance of power and the personalities involved. Then you know what to look for”. 

Boyden’s global industrial team works with clients to address water challenges by identifying leaders with the right mindset, digital understanding and ability to drive cultural transformation across their business. 

To learn more, see our full report or contact me for an informal discussion. 

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