Leadership with Impact by Caroline Renoux
Léa Zolli Durand
Léa Zolli Durand

Leadership with Impact by Caroline Renoux

Interview of Caroline RENOUX, CEO of Birdeo & People4Impact, by Yolande GOUZALCH, Executive Coach at Version Originale.

What is your definition of an impact leader?

"A leader with a positive impact is above all a leader who is capable of reinventing the paradigm of success, i.e. who is capable of proposing something other than 10% growth or doing 10% better than competitors, and who is capable of defining social and environmental performance, and of ensuring that financial performance, because it remains crucial, is at the service of this performance.

Secondly, he is someone who has courage, who is tenacious, because the messages to be conveyed on these subjects are not simple, they are not easy. Everyone agrees on the goal to be reached, but on the means and the time to get there, there is still a lot of disagreement.

After that, it is someone who has an excellent general knowledge of the subject. You can't be an expert on everything about CSR, but in any case, you have to know, for example, the objectives of sustainable development, the planetary limits, and understand how it fits into your business model, and then be able to pass it on to others.

And finally, you need a lot of humility because when faced with the complexity of the issue, you don't have all the answers. So you always have to stay very humble."

The last crises have accelerated the consideration of CSR in corporate strategies, what are the impacts on recruitment at the level of decision makers?

"Among the decision-makers, we really feel that in terms of recruitment, we are going to be asked for people who are capable of going into these two worlds, of making the transition. That is to say, people who understand the business in the way it is done today, who are capable, who know the codes, and then people who are also already capable of ensuring the transition of what is needed for tomorrow. So, there's really this complexity of being between the two worlds."

How are ETs adapting to accelerate their transformation to responsible leadership?

"It's true that it's more recent that we're hearing about them on the subject, and that they're interested in the subject, I would say for about two years. Having said that, the ETIs, and there are many of them that are really well established locally, or at the level of family capital, are often companies that are already doing great things.

So the first point is already to look at what is being done, and then to appoint someone, so it's good that it's someone on the executive committee, who, on a voluntary basis, because motivation is still very important in these areas, wants to take on these subjects. And the idea is to get closer to organizations like ADEME, like the BPI, which have quite a few toolboxes, or professional associations.

There, it already gives quite a few guides on what is done, on what can be done. And then there are quite a few free training courses, which help to raise awareness among all the company's employees. And then to complete, possibly take on an expert, either a consultant or a freelancer, on some specific subjects."

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in developing as an Impact Leader?

"Today, becoming an impact leader is really a great tool for career progression. And I wouldn't necessarily have said that even a few years ago.

The first thing to do is to really educate yourself and get informed, because the subjects are very complex. You have to approach them with humility, you have to try to understand them. And then you really have to stay as connected as possible in the networks, with your peers, with your competitors, with the associations.

And last but not least, the impact leader must really know how to work in cooperation and coopetition, i.e. with his competitors. Because on these subjects, it's crucial to work with your suppliers, with your stakeholders, with your employees to make the best progress on the subjects."

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