With 10 years in strategy, systems change and sustainability consulting with Accenture, KPMG and Kearney, and over 11 years founding and managing consultancies and start-ups across sectors, Jonah joined Xynteo’s London team early March.
Most recently Jonah acted as deputy CEO of sustainability consultancy Aleron. He also held the role as managing partner of Ryan and Grunsell, the international education advisory partnership he co-founded with Dame Christine Ryan DBE, current Chair of OFSTED and former CEO of the Independent Schools Inspectorate.
With international experience across markets including UK, UAE, Switzerland, Cayman Islands, Qatar and Brunei, and his cross-sector knowledge spanning education, telecoms, finance, marketing, health and pharma, Jonah is the perfect fit to tackle systemic challenges with Xynteo.
We sat down with Jonah to ask him how businesses and its leaders contribute to creating systemic change.
With over 20 years specialising in strategy and sustainability, what do you think is key for businesses to create ‘Good Growth’?
I think the key to creating ‘Good Growth’ is first for the leadership to clearly define what good means for them, their shareholders and their customers. Then they must align this to the company’s vision, mission and objectives as well as wider frameworks such as ESG. Without this alignment, they risk creating conflict between purpose, profit and planet, and identifying unrealistic or unachievable goals.
This is the main reason I am so happy to join Xynteo - as creating this change starts with engaging business leaders. By helping global businesses and their leaders become an active partner, participant and promoter of positive change, I believe we will be able to tackle the worlds’ greatest problems.
Xynteo is a company that shares this ambition and a systemic approach to change; small enough to be nimble, creative and innovative, whilst big enough to have genuine leverage at a senior level. I am incredibly excited to join and work with colleagues and clients to tackle global problems and benefit people and planet.
What does reinventing growth mean to you?
For me, reinventing growth means fundamentally changing how the world and society views what growth and progression as a species actually means, and the inter-connectivity of what we do and how we do it globally.
Commercial or economic growth at the expense of the planet, or health and well-being of communities, or equality in any geography should no longer be considered acceptable. Increasingly, society is demanding that businesses actively demonstrate their shared commitment to the planet and pursue positive and inclusive growth. Businesses that fail to radically transform their growth models will be rendered obsolete.
How can businesses and its leaders contribute to creating systemic change?
There is a desperate need for businesses to drive, create and sustain the changes required to tackle the world’s greatest problems.
To do this, businesses and their leaders need to actively recognise and embrace the systems they work within, the role they play and all the partners that are part of it from their customers and shareholders, through to government, the public sector and civil society.
Once the systems appreciation is there, they need to engage partners as genuine stakeholders rather than passive entities. They must establish a shared understanding of the change they want to achieve, why they want to achieve it and the practical and iterative steps that need to be taken towards achieving it.
A key part of this is to genuinely understand and embrace the motivations and drivers of partners and identify synergies and intersections between them. In my experience, there are far more commonalities that can sometimes be initially obvious and in recent years system outcomes regarding purpose, profit and planet are increasingly converging.
What else do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I am a born and bred Londoner and enjoy everything this incredible city has to offer. I live with my partner and our 6-month-old daughter Ava, so a lot of my time when not working is spent helping bring up our baby, along painting, cooking, and keeping fit.
To learn more about Jonah Grunsell or his take on systemic change and inclusive growth, connect with him here.