‘He was exactly what this company needed, at exactly the right time’ explained a lead director on the board of the revived and once-dominant General Motors (GM). Describing his new CEO, this director added: ‘He simplified the organisation, reshaped the company’s vision, put the right people in place, and brought renewed energy and optimism to GM.’1

To lead the way you need a strong personal commitment to both setting things in motion and also not waiting for others to give you a sense of direction. This is what we mean by initiate. Being ‘action-minded’ has long been a leadership expectation. But in the rest of this century sustainable ...

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