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On the Minds of CEOs

Behavioral Insights from Conversations with 40 Leading CEOs and Transformation Experts

While CEOs say sustainability has become business critical, they acknowledge a gap between their intention and their action to make sustainability core to their strategy. Global Behavioral Study ‘On the Minds of CEOs’ identifies 10 key drivers and barriers of CEOs driving sustainable transformation.

The study, published by Changemaker Companies, Ylios, and ap2, outlines 4 company profiles and 6 behavioral profiles of Senior Leaders. We found that CEOs feel isolated, and they feel that the cost of being the “first mover” of sustainability is too risky.

We believe businesses will undergo deep sustainable transformation only if everyone in the company feels empowered to innovate."

- Arnaud MourotVP Corporate Alliances, Ashoka

CEOs' six major drivers to sustainable transformation are mostly extrinsic.

  • Meet existing and anticipated regulations
  • Anticipate critical threats to business operations
  • Access funds from private equity, banks, and investors, increasingly pushing for ESG relevance.
  • Attract, engage, and retain talents.
  • Protect brand reputation, by aligning to perceived change in cultural values.
  • Compensate perceived lack of governmental action to tackle social & environmental issues effectively.

Four barriers - mainly intrinsic - outweigh drivers and lead to an action/intention gap.

  • Business transformation requires the resolution of ‘wicked problems’.
  • High public & media scrutiny, involving oversimplification of the issue and framing the transformation through a moral lens.
  • The diversity in topics, language, and metrics is leading to confusion and inaccurate appraisal of progress.
  • Lack of consumer impetus: individuals behaving inconsistently between what they claim & what they actually consume.

We have identified 4 different company behavioral profiles, based on two key differentiators: public commitment to societal and environmental impact, and degree of change to a business’ operations/ business model.

I see myself as a politician, and I’ve always seen businesses as a public space - they therefore must have a positive impact on society."

- CEO, France

Our research outlines 6 individual behavioral profiles of CEOs, as plotted along the scale of change they are able and willing to make to operations/their business model.

Hear From the Experts:

How to Drive Impact Culture Through Transformative Leadership

Contact us

Angelos Souriadakis

Founding Partner, Ylios & Changemaker Companies

Arnaud Mourot

VP Corporate Alliances, Ashoka & Founder, Changemaker Companies

Yoram Bosc-Haddad

Senior Partner, Ylios & Changemaker Companies

Adelaide Vinay

Ap2 Co-Founder, Anthropologist

Kris White

Ap2 Co-Founder, Behavioural Psychology Specialist

Maylis Trassard

Business for Impact Lead, Changemaker Companies

Special thanks to

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On the Minds of CEOs 

On the Minds of CEOs 

On the Minds of CEOs 

Supported by ASHOKA 

Supported by ASHOKA 

Supported by ASHOKA