Responsibility in business, the state, and society: Who is really responsible and for what

Top managers of Ukrainian businesses, reputable public and state leaders discussed the topic of responsibility at the VII Conductors of Changes Forum held in Kyiv.

On 23 September, Kyiv hosted the VII Conductors of Changes Forum that brought together more than 300 participants – owners and executives of Ukrainian and international companies, reputable public and state leaders as well as thought leaders. This year’s Forum topic was “Responsibility: Who else if not me?” with four dedicated panel discussions.

“Responsibility directly affects our daily lives. It can be measured in some way by performance efficiency, involvement, and financial success. As time goes by, the meaning of business responsibility evolves and expands. Today, financial responsibility, which is essentially inherent in the nature of business, is already complemented by social and ethical responsibility,” said Sergii Kulyk, Managing Partner at Deloitte Ukraine, in his opening speech at the VII Conductors of Changes Forum.

The Forum commenced with a discussion session on “Leadership through responsibility“, which was attended by Vyacheslav Klymov, co-founder and co-owner of Nova Poshta, Dmytro Sennychenko, Chairman of the State Property Fund of Ukraine, Lenna Koszarny, founder and CEO at Horizon Capital, Yaroslava Gres, co-founder of Gres Todorchuk, and Vladyslav Chechotkin, co-founder and CEO at ROZETKA. Sergii Kulyk moderated the panel discussion.

The panelists shared their vision on what a leader should be and what responsible leadership means today. “It is important to look at the responsible leadership rationally. I believe that it should constitute a capitalization component of any business. When entrepreneurs cooperate with society and join social projects, their business capitalization increases, for their business must be profitable as well. In addition, any company that wants to ‘play a long game’ should take care of the people to whom it offers its products and the territory in which it develops,” said Vyacheslav Klymov.

The event participants had the opportunity to take part in the voting and express their opinion on whether there is a demand for responsible leadership in society today. The results were as follows: 55% of respondents said that there is a demand and it is urgent; 40% said that there is a demand, but it is moderate; almost 4% of respondents stated that there are other important issues at hand; and less than 1% believe that there are no issues with responsible leadership in Ukraine.

According to Vladyslav Chechotkin, a responsible leader is, first and foremost, a predictable and consistent businessperson and a leader. It is a person who understands why they start a business, what objectives they strive to achieve. A person who sees the prospects and is also a part of society and the country in which they live,” said Vladyslav.

“Responsible leadership is a personal responsibility based on one’s own internal principles,” summed up Lenna Koszarny.

The second panel discussion was focused on the topic of responsibility in business and how to share responsibility with others. The discussion was attended by Serhiy Badritdinov, CEO at INTERTOP, Svitlana Panaiotidi, Member of Supervisory Board of Prozorro.Sales, Philipp Grushko, Member of Supervisory Board of TIS, Serhiy Chernenko, Chairman of the Management Board of PUMB. Yegor Grygorenko, Partner, Head of Consulting and Risk Advisory at Deloitte Ukraine moderated the panel discussion. When presenting the panel topic, he noted that, despite the tradition of Ukrainian business leaders to concentrate all responsibilities in their hands, in recent years there has been a tendency to share responsibility with a team. Is this a sign of maturity?

Philipp Grushko also agrees that business CEOs should delegate responsibility. “When people know that they are not responsible for anything, it demotivates them,” said Philipp. He believes that employee effectiveness is affected not only by leadership within a company, but also by understanding of a company’s global purpose. “It is important for any leader to explain to their employees the importance of the company’s activities in terms of sustainable development and belonging to something bigger. When you say that “if we do not deliver, there will be no bread in the country” it works better than KPIs,” said Philipp Grushko.

Sergiy Detyuk, CEO at Metinvest Digital, believes that now, as before, a business leader is responsible for corporate culture, values and strategy as well as achievement of business targets and sustainable development goals. However, today the business leaders are focused on ensuring a maximum flexibility and adaptability of the business. “The leaders should be able to make rapid changes at the strategic level while giving the team more authority and the ‘right to make a mistake’ to ensure a timely and appropriate response to new conditions,” he said.

The third panel discussion was devoted to the topic of responsibility for own life. Yuriy Kosyuk, owner and board chairman at MHP, Oleksandr Porkhun, First Deputy Minister for Veteran Affairs of Ukraine, Andriy Sadovyi, Mayor of Lviv, and Maksym Krypak, Ukrainian swimmer and the most titled athlete of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, spoke about the responsibility for own life, life-changing decisions, and motivation to win. Andrey Bulakh, Vice Chairman of the Board, Director of Organizational Efficiency and Personnel Management Department at MHP moderated the discussion.

The panel discussion participants pondered over what is the key to unlocking full potential and achieving success in life. “The limitations and opportunities – it is all in our heads. The business road is rough and slippery. But when you understand the goal, it is impossible to stop. As for me, challenges move me forward, adding adrenaline. Find what makes you happy, and go for it with all your heart,” said Yuriy Kosyuk.

In its turn, Andriy Sadovyi said that it is important to never put a limit on your dreams. “God determines the length of our life and we determine its width and depth. So, dream big!” summed up Andriy Sadovyi.

The fourth panel discussion was centered on the responsibility to future generations. The discussion about values and social responsibility of business was attended by Oleksandr Bohutskyi, CEO at StarLightMedia, Andriy Gorokhov, CEO at UMG Investments, Olga Bielkova, Director for Relations with State Authorities and International Organizations of GTS Operator of Ukraine, and Tymofiy Mylovanov, President of Kyiv School of Economics. Roman Bondar, Vice President at Ukrainian Corporate Governance Academy (UCGA) moderated the discussion.

Andriy Gorokhov said that awareness of the business about the risks to the society and environment when planning new projects is a necessity in today’s world. “When investment funds or large companies enter new markets, they already have a certain reputation. The companies that do business in a civilized way as well as meet certain norms and standards are more than welcome guests. Today, to be a civilized business means to take care of society, to consume resources more responsibly, and to be forward-looking,” he said.

Roman Bondar invited the event participants to join the discussion and express their opinion by answering the question of who should be responsible for future generations. The results were as follows: 54% believe that it should be the state; 21% said that it should be business; 13% believe that the future generations will take care of themselves, whereas another 11% said they did not give much thought about it.

In its turn, Oleksandr Bohutskyi said that each of us is primarily responsible for the future. “If you have a business, you should take responsibility for yourself, if you take something from nature, you must give something back. Otherwise, it is a destructive exploitation that will leave us with no future. At StarLightMedia, we have created the motto “Everyone is responsible for everyone” and we believe that this is the key to everything,” he said.

In keeping with our good tradition, the Conductors of Changes Forum continues to support a social component. This year, 10% of the ticket price and partners’ contributions will be donated to support the Teach for Ukraine social initiative. The organizers of Forum raised UAH 250,000 that will help with addressing the problem of educational inequality in Ukraine.

Support of educational projects is a priority area of Deloitte’s corporate responsibility and sustainability strategy. By 2030, Deloitte’s global societal impact initiative, WorldClass, aims to empower 100 million people by improving education outcomes, developing job skills, and providing access to opportunities.The Conductors of Changes Forum also supported the inclusion component. All panel discussions were interpreted into a sign language and the event venue was arranged in line with the accessibility concept. The organizers also provided COVID-19 testing for all participants of the Forum.

Among the partners of the VII Conductors of Changes Forum were:

General Partner: MHP

Official Partners: Nova Poshta, SAP, Odgers Berndtson Ukraine, UMG Investments, ATIS PHARMA

Television Partner: StarLightMedia

Innovation Partner: Metinvest Digital

Automobile Partner: Winner Group Ukraine

Alcohol Partner: The Glen Grant

Water Partner: Morshynska

Inclusion Partner: Inclusive Friendly

Main News Partner: Interfax Ukraine

Informational Conductor of Change:

Media Partners: Apostrophe, TOP100, FOCUS, InVenture, LIGA:ZAKON, The Page

The VII Conductors of Changes Forum: What was it like

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