Consider the major issues that plague most countries today: the Covid-19 pandemic (a double-whammy of health and economic devastation) and the climate crisis. Further conflicts will vary depending on the nation in question, but most if not all countries in the world are struggling to balance the lethal pairing mentioned above. What is surprising, therefore, are the lack of unified cross-border recovery efforts underpinned by skilled leadership.
We live in an interconnected, interdependent world in terms of business, population health, and the state of the planet. These three areas must be considered in both the short- and long-term when managing the present and planning for the future. However, this consideration has been absent in the actions of multiple political and business leaders, and the impact of this strategic shortcoming is being felt across multiple areas and industries.
J7 Communications has already previously written about the need for equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccinations and treatments – this issue remains ongoing. While commitments have been made to financing schemes such as the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, urgent funding and resources must be unlocked for a swift global recovery. In the words of the WHO: “The future of the pandemic is in the hands of the G20 leaders.” An uneven global rate of vaccination against Covid-19 opens up avenues for more variants to develop, including the potential for vaccine-resistant variants. Slow or ineffective action and cooperation from richer nations to assist emerging economies will continue to hamper every effort to recover – in health, in finances, in infrastructure, and in business.
The UK is current experiencing a live example of what can go wrong when workforce skills and needs, public health, and government policy are misaligned. The current supply chain crisis - staff shortages due to the 'pingdemic', supply chain cost increases due to the pandemic, and driver shortages due to post-Brexit immigration policies - are a heady cocktail. The results: empty supermarket shelves and, more recently, a warning via the Telegraph of potential cost increases or supply shortages of consumer items towards the Christmas festive season. When skilled workers are missing in any industry - due to lack of access to international staff, insufficient public or organisational health and safety policies, or lack of awareness of or access to professional training domestically - everyone suffers.
There are less than 100 days until COP26, and the vital need to address global warming has been thrown into sharp relief by recent extreme weather events across the globe. While more and more leaders are waking up to the reality that loss of life, of ecosystems, of infrastructure and of business will become increasingly common, our refrain is the same: more swift and strategic action is needed. From the G20 failing to reach a common goal on phasing out coal or de-subsidising fossil fuels to businesses and investors making climate commitment with no teeth, or insufficient funding for poorer nations to develop 'green' and sustainable transport and infrastructure networks, we are missing holistic, forward-looking strategic approaches to development and change.
In a word: skills. Specifically, skilled practitioners, managers, and leaders of the present and future. What unites these skilled figures across social, business, and political arenas, are shared 'soft skills' in communication, listening, interpersonal interactions, and people and project management. This skillset, combined with expert knowledge of communities, policies, or industries, can drive every nation further towards recovery and sustainable long-term development. Trade and Chartered bodies offer professional development opportunities to individuals and organisations, and advice to Government about what industry practitioners need to operate safely and effectively.
Furthermore, equitable global healthcare and infrastructure funding and access bring moral, social, and business benefits, from erasing the Covid-19 pandemic to extending digital infrastructure for greater connectivity and access to education and information. Decarbonisation actions informed by skilled industry practitioners and environmental experts coupled with equitable resource and development access will bring about emissions reductions for all, and not just the richest few. Cautious post-Covid 'opening-up' policies that actually meet the short-, medium- and long-term needs of key stakeholders (the public, businesses, the international community) are crucial to properly recover and improve national and international health and wealth. The common thread to all of these: robust strategy and management at every level of influence.
This article is from our July-August J7 Bulletin – read the full issue here.