Frank Ryan: The age of transparency has arrived
The main takeaways from IDA Ireland Chairman Frank Ryan’s speech to participating organisations at the capstone event for the IMI / IDA Ireland Leading with Strategic Intent programme.
IMI, in association with IDA Ireland, designed Leading With Strategic Intent to address the critical challenges facing leaders in multinationals. Since its inception in 2019, the programme has enabled the senior leadership teams of 25 companies to build on their successes to date and lay the groundwork for future inward investment and sustainable growth.
We are never going back to normal
Citing the ‘ongoing commitment’ of the IDA to work with companies to succeed into the future, its Chairman Frank Ryan emphasised that we are never going back to the way things used to be. Instead, he said, we are living in a redefined and reimagined present and we must plan for the future in that context.
Uncertainty lies ahead, but people make decisions, not companies
Touching on the realities of geopolitical tensions and their downstream effects on businesses, the IDA Chairman admitted that uncertainties may lie ahead for the FDI sector in Ireland. He added that despite these potential obstacles, the people that make up the sector are strong, resilient and adaptable – and more than capable of weathering the storm. People make decisions, not companies, he explained, and the power ultimately lies with the individuals at the controls to make the best decisions.
‘Green finance and sustainability are here to stay’
Frank Ryan explained that the green wave is set to continue over the coming years and decades, with green finance coming to the fore. It is evident in the flow of capital, he said, that businesses are embedding sustainability as a key part of their overall strategy. Implementing strong ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) practices from the top down will become the norm, something he pointed to as a key way for forward-thinking businesses to stand out in the market.
The age of transparency has arrived
The IDA Chairman said that we are living in the ‘information age’, where data can flow freely and where there is unprecedented access to technology and markets around the globe. The boundaries that once defined our ability to collaborate have disappeared completely. With this, he said, comes additional scrutiny for business – what he called the ‘age of transparency’. Companies will have more pressure – internally and externally – to act ‘with integrity’, with hard questions being posed to leaders.
Innovation can be your ‘secret sauce’
Both internal and external communication will be tested frequently for leaders during this age of transparency. Frank Ryan said businesses have to consider what is being communicated – and even more importantly, what isn’t – and be crystal clear in terms of the strategic direction of the organisation. He pointed to innovation as the ‘secret sauce’ and encouraged leaders to maintain a culture of curiosity and constant learning to improve.
Focus on human capital and talent management
The IDA Chairman said that talent management and nurturing your people will be key differentiators moving forward, not corporate tax rates. He said that with companies being forced to reinvent themselves during the pandemic, the speed of change has been break-neck and people have been the driving force behind such drastic transformations. He also pointed out that keeping an eye on how potential employees view the organisation from the outside is a critical component in developing a sustainable pipeline of new blood to keep the business vibrant.