Sattar Bawany: Leading in an Era of Constant Disruption and Crisis

Sattar Bawany

Prof Sattar Bawany is going to publish the updated edition of his book, Leadership in Disruptive Times: Negotiating the New Balance, in 2023.

More about his new book:

The world is facing significant disruption and increasingly urgent global challenges affecting individuals, families, organizations, governments, and society. This VUCA-driven (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) age of disruption brings new complexities, opportunities, as well as risks for businesses (Bawany 2020). The potential for crises has intensified, driven by rapid technological change, and amplified by societal expectations linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) phenomena.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen an acceleration of these trends. We have seen how some businesses have been successful in looking beyond the pandemic and into recovery, while others have failed and many perished, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has created significant challenges for leaders at all levels in industries across the world. A post-pandemic era will require us to embrace new definitions of leadership. The disruptive and seismic effect of the pandemic was felt by organizations across diverse industries. Leaders and employees all are asking far-ranging questions about the future: What will be the legacy of the pandemic? What kinds of leadership skills will they need to successfully navigate the various challenges ina disruptive and digital-driven workplace? How do organizations balance business sustainability and risk management while supporting the needs of the various stakeholders including their employees?

Those who have been leading organizations for some time will attest to the fact that disruption, in its various forms, can happen at any time, in any market segment, or any industry. The reality is that its impact on traditional organizations can be disastrous if not managed effectively. It has and will continue to fundamentally change the way we live and work in decades to come. A leader must see beyond the horizon to anticipate these possible disruptions and develop relevant strategies to mitigate the associated risks.

Today’s global disruptions (e.g., geopolitical tensions, supply chain bottlenecks technological innovations, and climate change)and economic headwinds (e.g., soaring inflation, rising interest rates, decelerating growth, and currency fluctuations) have created a complex, once-in-a-generation, competitive environment with significant variations across geographic areas and sectors.

Navigating this unprecedented complexity requires business leaders to develop a dynamic perspective not only on the most likely scenarios for how their operating and economic environments will evolve but also on the distinct opportunities and risks these scenarios present for their organizations.

The right leadership is critical for organizations to thrive in an era of a constantly disruptive business environment. The book aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the megatrends of future disruptive forces that organizations need to take into consideration in their crisis management and business sustainability plan?
  2. How do organizations negotiate the new balance of ‘enterprise risk management’(ERM) with corporate sustainability?
  3. How do leaders transform their organizations to be agile, adaptive, and innovation-driven in the era of constant disruption and crisis?
  4. What are the key considerations for an organization to consider as they adopt digital transformation to reinvent people, processes, and technology in the disruptive World-of-Work (WOW)?

Reshaping Your Organization In an Era of Constant Crisis & Disruption

Organizations must be prepared for future disruptions which would evolve into crises if they are not prepared. that place importance on resilience now, only to let become an afterthought later, will do so at their peril. COVID-19, with all its indirect impacts, is the most immediate critical event organizations face so far in this decade, but it is hardly the only one. There will be other potential forces that are creating new and constant waves of disruption — creating both opportunities and risks. These includes:

  1. New World Order (Globalization and Populism)
  2. Geopolitical Power Shifts (Russia-Ukraine Conflict and South China Sea Disputes)
    3 Environmental Shifts (ESG, Climate Warming, and ‘Net Zero’ Emissions)
    4 Future Pandemics (H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza also known as ‘Bird Flu’ ),
  3. Demographic shifts (Ageing Population and the rise of Generation Z/Digital Natives) and
  4. Technological shifts (Metaverse, 6G/7G, and Quantum Computing)

Companies experiencing fast growth must build an agile and sustained organization designed to rapidly deploy and redeploy talent and resources without denigrating operational capability in other areas. Capability building includes everything from training on how to run virtual meetings and executive coaching to workshops focused on teaching fundamentals around how to lead change. While companies face a significant opportunity to expand and realize revenue and profit growth, they may not always readily have the organizational capabilities to do so effectively. Why? For one, external disruptions to a given market (e.g., new regulations, innovations, customer performance requirements) can quickly make current business and/or operating models less viable. Organizational designs must be able to outpace disruptive changes of environmental jolts, economic shocks, and more classical reorganizations.

To evolve, organizations need to develop continuous change capabilities. For organizations seeking to scale and grow, not only should their leaders inspire change and be effective ‘change agents”, but they also need to adopt an integrative and future-focused approach to their strategic redesign, allowing them to integrate structure, people, process, and technology (PPT) as leverage points to drive growth. Engaging leaders at all levels and aligning their growth and disruptive mindsets and providing the relevant incentives to reinforce new behaviors go a long way toward executing large-scale organizational design efforts and growing the company.

Our research on best-in-class organizations that have successfully navigated the disruptive challenges took concrete steps to dramatically improve their capacity to anticipate, respond to and capitalize on the disruptive forces heading their way. As a result, we have developed the “L.E.A.D.E.R.” Framework (see Figure 2) for organizations to prepare for the era of constant disruption and crises ahead that could threaten the organization’s sustainability:

Prof Sattar BawanyWith over 30 years of experience in international business, executive coaching and leadership development, there is no doubt that Prof Sattar Bawany is one of the most trusted experts when it comes to international business strategies.

At present, Prof Bawany holds the following professional appointments:

  • Chief Executive Officer and C-Suite Certified Master Executive Coach of the Centre for Executive Education (CEE)
  • Managing Director & Master Executive Coach, EDA Asia Pacific
  • Strategic Advisor of International Professional Managers Association (IPMA)
  • Senior Advisor & Adjunct Practice Leader, Talent Management of Cegos Asia Pacific
  • Faculty Member of Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning
  • Faculty Member of the Duke CE Global Learning Resource Network (GLRN)
  • Adjunct Faculty & Executive Coach of ICLIF Leadership & Governance Centre
  • Adjunct Professor of Strategy at the Paris Graduate School of Management (PGSM) and Curtin Graduate School of Business (CGSB)

Additionally, he has also held the following professional appointments in the past:

  • Managing Director and Talent Management Practice Leader, DBM Asia Pacific
  • Head of Transition & Executive Coaching Practice, DBM Asia Pacific
  • Business Leader, Global Information Services, Mercer HR Consulting, Asia Pacific
  • Head of Learning Services & Senior Consultant Organisational Effectiveness and Management Development (OEMD), The Hay Group, Asia Pacific
  • Head of Business Development, Forum Corporation, Asia Pacific
  • Senior Consultant, Sales, Service & Leadership Development, Mercuri International

He was awarded the 2019 Executive of the Year for Human Resources Consulting at the Singapore Business Review (SBR) Management Excellence Awards 2019. Over the past 30 years, working with clients across various industries globally, he has delivered executive coaching engagement and executive development programs to ensure C-Suite leaders’ readiness for the highly disruptive and digital-driven workplace. His earlier book titled Transforming the Next Generation Leaders: Developing Future Leaders for a Disruptive, Digital-Driven Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) was published by Business Expert Press (BEP) in 2019.

Professor Bawany has coached a range of leaders, from CEOs to high potential managers. His talks focus on encouraging individual initiative and leadership from a systemic perspective in order to achieve clearly defined business results. His specialty is linking people processes to business outcomes. Prof Bawany’s speaking topics are:

  • Transforming the Next Generation of Leaders
  • Leading and Engaging a Multigenerational Workforce

Contact us if you would like Prof Sattar Bawany at your upcoming conference.