In these challenging times, the business world needs more than ever transformative leaders: visionary, inspiring and effective managers who can lead change, reshape industries, improve quality of life and advance sustainable development goals, using technology and innovation as key drivers of change.

In this context, the ESCP Turin campus is delighted to have a strategic corporate partnership with EY, which opens up exciting new career opportunities for ESCP Business School students. EY is a global leader in professional services in audit and accounting, tax and legal advisory, transaction and consulting, which plays a key role in building a better professional world for its people, clients, and the communities in which they operate. To celebrate this partnership, we interviewed Paolo Lobetti Bodoni, Consulting Leader - Italy at EY and Adjunct Professor at the ESCP Business School, to discuss Leading Transformation.

As EY's senior partner focused on helping your clients to realise their transformation journey related to business, technologies, and people management, can you tell us what the essential skills to become a transformative leader of the future are?

Transformative leaders today need, in the first instance, to guide their organisations to navigate uncertainty. This requires them to be:

  • Adaptive to be able to deal with rapidly changing expectations, performances, and technologies.
  • Resilient in maintaining focus on priorities and always raising the bar.
  • Curious to catch and discover all the opportunities for growth and evolution.

Embracing the whole ecosystem of which organisations are part, made of countless stakeholders, transformation journeys need brave leaders able to understand where and how to reframe business, sustaining the pace.
It is a marathon, more than a race, in which energies and efforts need to be balanced between the proper sustain to current performances and business as usual and the continuous investment in skills and capabilities to feed innovation.
Leading successful transformations requires people who can win an organisation's heart and hit them at the core, in their deeper DNA, impacting culture and working methods. They are "social leaders" that believe in companywide trust and transparency as key conditions to turn challenges into opportunities. They coach the organisation working on two dimensions: Inspiration - providing the vision forward; empowerment - providing the right guidance and support.

EY Busienss transformation

You teach as an adjunct professor the "Leading Transformation" module in the "Strategic Foresight and Digital Transformation" specialisation of the Master in Management. What is the role of technologies and innovation in driving transformation?

In the last years, technology disruption has totally reshaped how organisations define their business models and value proposition, interact with customers and suppliers, and organise their processes and ways of working.
What is happening on the market clearly shows how technology plays a double role, both as a trigger for companies to rethink their traditional approaches and models and as an enabler to realise transformation and make the change happen.
A recent EY survey on a significant cluster of Italian Companies has declared that more than 50% of their investment plans are on digitalisation, underlining the key role of technology and innovation in organisations' growth plans due to their recognised impact on the value creation both financial and, in general, on people and the whole organisation.
Today companies that aim to grow and boost their performance, need to rethink their selves as "open ecosystem", that interact with the internal community and the enlarged external stakeholder's environment, both absorbing inputs and capabilities and contaminating their ways of doing business to create new value, leveraging the opportunities that can come from the outside. Continuously innovate and feed the innovation loop, also with a test-and-learn approach, to constantly improve and grow.

What are the main levers and drivers for change in a company's transformation path?

Change is the result of a wider number of factors (i.e., technologies, new consumer trends, policies and restrictions, geopolitical factors, and competitors' moves, and so on) that interact with each other and contribute to triggering new evolution paths.
I strongly believe in three pillars on which is based our "Transformation Realised" framework - also leveraged in some of our lectures - put value creation as transformation's ultimate goal:

  • The human factor (at the centre): Companies that generate true value from transformation need to place both customers and employees at the centre of their organisation, building up the vision and letting it realise. Transformation needs to find its true fuel from within the organisation by fostering creativity and talent of the people as an "ally" for successful change.
  • Technology (at speed): Tech opens new opportunities and needs to be leveraged, both enabling and speeding up change and exploring new horizons.
  • Innovation (at scale): Establish innovation as a "core engine" of the organisation embedded in the daily business routine, being an enabler of new value streams accelerating the time-to-market from idea generation to the final customer.

Every organisational change initiative usually copes with some resistance to adoption that could be addressed, also working on "tactical" levers, for example, identifying proper change leaders or promoting quick wins to balance long-term effort with visible results and encourage the journey.

EY Busienss transformation

Recently, EY joined ESCP Corporate Network, becoming a partner of the ESCP Turin Campus. What important factors led EY to choose ESCP Business School as its partner? 

One of the key pillars of our DNA at EY is for sure to support the growth and development of the leaders of the future, which will concretely support our ambition to build a better working world.
The path to building solid and transformative professionals, even if it encompasses a broader range of attitudes, skills and experiences, start with education and university.
Always more, business schools are asked to speed up students' preparation in facing markets and working words, providing them with new ways of learning, always nearer to real and concrete experiences.
ESCP, in our opinion, fully embraces and represents our vision about how universities should contribute to students' growth path, providing the right toolkit to succeed and face future working challenges.
For us is an honour to have the opportunity to bring the best of our experience on the field within ESCP rooms with such an innovative course.
Together to build the journey for our future leaders!

One of the key characteristics of ESCP Turin Campus is its strong ties with the business community. The campus boasts 18 corporate partners and robust relationships with several national and international companies.
Find out more about our Corporate Partners.