The Nexus Economy – the rise of a new leadership era

With the increasing demand for new ways to manage an organisation’s talent – and the rise of new leadership styles – we sat down with Ross Nicholson co-founder of Six Degree People, a people strategy firm operating in Europe, US, Asia and Africa, who are looking at an interesting new leadership strategy style: Nexus, and have already turned vision into action for a number of global organisations. The Six Degree People theory:

The Emergence of the Nexus Economy

The undisputable truth: our economic systems will transform faster in the next decade than at any time since the late 1800’s and what brought us here, will not take us there.

A new societal contract is gaining momentum across the globe that rejects ‘naked capitalism’ and embraces economic democracies. An evolution of our social, political and economic systems that require our leaders to deliver a more inclusive, citizen-driven, commercially sustainable economy where profits are optimised not maximised, and organisations function far more for the common good. We call this future 2025 economy – the Nexus Economy.

In whichever direction we look, our leaders are seeing the profound realisation of an economic revolution coming alive faster than we ever thought possible. Many of these leaders have yet to fully grasp the magnitude, speed and breadth of this new revolution. Daily, we are all impacted by the irreversible effects of geo-political shifts, digital disruption and climate change. We are at a pivotal point in history and a future that is being shaped by the rise of the (dis)engaged global citizen with the power to demand a new societal contract for business and government to comply with.

The Nexus Challenge: To Disrupt or Die

Very few organisations have been fully prepared for the change ahead and our leaders have yet to shape a common narrative of how to translate the challenges and opportunities ahead. Without a more common language we risk further backlash and revolt against the changes already underway.

Global Corporations must unpick existing business models whilst evolving the new, in order to deliver more societally compliant products and services – despite how profitable those may still be.

Governments have been nowhere near nimble enough post-global recession to make the fundamental changes required, so are increasingly unable to provide the services we as citizens take for granted.

New Disruptors are beginning to enter existing markets, and some are reaching scale. However, too few begin with a true mind-set of purposeful growth or an inclusive business model that seeks to meet a deep need in society.

Not-for-Profit/NGOs who have not reinvented themselves or adapted their relationship with governments and the private sector, are dying.

The Rise of a New Leadership Era

The Nexus Economy will evolve from a combination of the most agile, inclusive and commercially sustainable components of big corporations; public sector; NGOs; and new disruptors, blended with significant advances in digital technology, finance, ownership and governance models. It is therefore logical that we are witnessing the rise of a new breed of leader who have led nexus transformation across private, public and NGO sectors. We refer to these as Nexus Leaders, those most capable of leading the journey to a more inclusive economic system because they wear the ‘scars and smiles’ of nexus transformation(s) and align the people around them to transform without compromising short term performance.

The greatest, single challenge facing all leadership teams who believe and embrace the transformation to a Nexus Economy is People. The leaders we partner with realise the scale of transformation is unlike any other, and at the heart of that challenge is the rejuvenation and then full alignment of all internal and external stakeholder groups. By identifying nexus leaders already inside the organisation (change-makers), we’re able to map where nexus leaders from outside (change-agents) would provide critical support as new advisors, mentors, employees, partners or suppliers. Every organisation requires a unique blend of changemakers and agents to be able to set its optimum pace of change. Change that will create the vital new agility for the organisation to lead in the transition to the nexus economy.

A People Notebook for the Nexus Economy will be published as a paper in 2017.

About the author

Ross co-founded Six Degree People, a people strategy firm operating in Europe, US, Asia and Africa, in 2007.

“My belief is that as public and private sectors throughout the world continue to blur and sometimes merge, it is increasingly important that we as leaders help drive an economic revolution working towards a more inclusive, fairer and commercially sustainable economic model. What’s clear through my work is that this pace of change will accelerate rapidly over the next decade. I call this 2025 Economy – the Nexus Economy.”

Since launching the company, Ross has worked with chairs and leadership teams of multinational corporations, scaled social disruptors and progressive non-governmental organisations such as IKEA, Change.org and the United Nations.