On June 13, 2023, Insigniam hosted an exclusive executive breakfast at the Châteauform’ City Les Jardins de Saint Dominique in Paris, bringing together a distinguished group of European senior leaders, eager to delve into the critical topics that would shape the new future; from the shifting paradigm for effective leadership to how to re-enchant businesses following irrevocable disruptions brought about by the pandemic.

Participants were encouraged to explore the concept of ‘how to create a new era in leadership,’ one that will enable businesses to accomplish their goals in a rapidly evolving environment. The event was an opportunity for collective thinking and ideation, with no predetermined answers but a shared desire to uncover fresh insights.

Those who gathered engaged in brainstorming sessions, seeking to identify the qualities and characteristics that define an effective leader.

“The future paradigm for leadership necessitates that we authentically care for our teams whilst transferring energy and momentum into our businesses to move them forward. As leaders, we must remain positive and optimistic regardless of how stressful or volatile an environment may be,” said Henri-Xavier Benoist, SVP, Head of Supply Chain Parts and Services at Stellantis.

Executives in attendance were also challenged to identify three essential conversations they must have within their respective organizations, but perhaps have not prioritized or avoided. These discussions aimed to bridge the gap between existing leadership practices and the transformative approaches required for the future. By honing in on these conversations, attendees could visualize the steps they needed to take in order to shape the future today. It was a call to action, urging leaders to identify their commitments and standpoints in the face of evolving challenges.

“What excites me most about the future is that nothing is set in stone.  As we move forward, leaders must possess a capacity to not only learn and listen, but also fight to create value and communicate their vision for the path forward. There will be huge challenges ahead, but if we keep people at the center of our systems, we can create the impossible,” said Véronique de La Grandière, Executive Director, FIG Advisory and Coverage [France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland] at Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking.

During the event, Insigniam also shared a forward-thinking perspective on the future. From exploring the undeniable influence of technology and data in shaping business creation and delivery. However, facilitators emphasized that the true magic lay in the convergence of human beings, data, and technology, transcending the mere existence of information and tools.

european senior leaders

When asked to define the qualities leaders must possess in order to succeed in our current business climate, European senior leaders offered a medley of assessments, captured in the word cloud above. Top of the list–of which 42% of respondents listed–was vision. Tied for second were accountability and humility, with authenticity coming in third.

“A changing leadership paradigm not only permits us—but also obliges us—to acknowledge the web of interconnected ecosystems that bind our businesses to our planet and the environment around us. To succeed in the future, we must have the ability to deal with uncertainty, resilience and determination, and an overwhelming sense of kindness toward other people,” said Mr. Benoist.

The discussions acknowledged the complexity of persistent global issues, such as environmental concerns, social equity, and energy transitions. By viewing these challenges as opportunities for reinvention, leaders were to encouraged to explore innovative solutions by visualizing concepts on whiteboards and through group exercises designed to promote ideation.

Lastly, the significance of corporate culture in driving performance was another key point emphasized during the event. Participants agreed that purpose-driven organizations with a positive culture would gain a competitive advantage, as employees increasingly sought environments aligned with their values.

As the event concluded, several participants indicated a newfound perspective and a deeper understanding of the evolving leadership landscape. The insights gained will hopefully guide their future endeavors as they ventured into uncharted territories.

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