Konomis on redefining business and entrepreneurship
07:04 - 15 October 2023
The Business Leaders Summit, organised by Bank of Cyprus, takes place for the seventh consecutive year on Monday, 16 October.
Here, Xenios Konomis, Director of Corporate & SME Banking at Bank of Cyprus, talks about how this year’s event aims to explore the concept of redefining business for the modern entrepreneur, as well as the key traits and challenges for successful business leaders in an ever-shifting landscape.
Could you elaborate on the reasons behind the decision to organise the Business Leaders Summit for a seventh year? What value does Bank of Cyprus see in fostering this meeting of minds?
The decision to organise the Business Leaders Summit for the seventh consecutive year is anchored in Bank of Cyprus’ understanding of the transformative power of knowledge-sharing, networking and community engagement in an ever-evolving environment. Over its six-year history, the summit has grown into an influential event that brings industry leaders together. By fostering this platform, we aim to propel innovation, stimulate collaboration and offer insights that could reshape the future trajectory of business and entrepreneurship. Bank of Cyprus places significant emphasis on such gatherings, not just for the immediate business community’s benefit but also to underscore our commitment as a primary driver of regional growth and change.
The theme of this year’s Summit is “Redefining Business and Entrepreneurship.” How does this theme reflect the evolving nature of business and entrepreneurship in Cyprus and beyond?
In today’s rapidly changing business landscape and in our fast-paced and dynamic world, the traditional notions of business and entrepreneurship are being challenged and redefined. Entrepreneurs must constantly adapt and redefine their approach to stay relevant and be successful. With advancements in technology, globalisation and evolving consumer preferences, traditional business models no longer guarantee success. The 7th Business Leaders Summit aims to explore the concept of redefining business for the modern entrepreneur by delving into various aspects such as innovation, sustainability, digital transformation and customer-centricity. Participants will gain insights into how entrepreneurs can succeed in the ever-changing business world. Agility, adaptability, technology, innovation and social entrepreneurship must be the fundamental pillars and remain present in the DNA of all businesses, regardless of the sector to which they belong, as these attributes will be essential to survival in an extremely complex environment and in a highly volatile global business world, where competition is increasing and customers are more demanding. In conclusion, redefining business and entrepreneurship requires embracing technology, adopting a socially responsible approach, promoting diversity and inclusion and rethinking leadership models. The dynamic and interconnected nature of the modern world demands a shift in mindset and strategies. By leveraging technology, entrepreneurs can stay ahead of the curve and create innovative solutions. Social entrepreneurship allows entrepreneurs to make a positive impact on society while driving profit. Embracing diversity and inclusion leads to greater innovation and resilience. Finally, redefining leadership enables entrepreneurs to create a culture of empowerment, collaboration and ethical decision-making. By embracing these aspects, entrepreneurs can navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape and drive positive change.
What would you say are the key characteristics that define a successful business leader in today’s rapidly changing landscape?
The shifting business landscape requires leaders who embody specific attributes. Firstly, adaptability is paramount. The modern leader must be adept at adjusting strategies in line with evolving circumstances and embracing uncertainty as a constant. Secondly, visionary thinking is indispensable. Effective leaders don’t just react to immediate concerns; they anticipate the future, paving a clear path for their teams and motivating them toward it. Empathy, too, has emerged as a cornerstone of leadership. As businesses globally place increasing emphasis on ethical operations and corporate social responsibility, it’s imperative for leaders to resonate with the needs and concerns of their stakeholders, both internal and external. Furthermore, resilience cannot be overlooked. Leaders are expected to demonstrate unwavering perseverance, especially when navigating turbulent times like those we are going through today. Finally, a commitment to continuous learning is essential. With the business world in constant flux, leaders who are dedicated to their own personal and professional growth will invariably steer their organisations more effectively and become an example to follow.
What are the main challenges facing the modern business leader?
Modern business leaders grapple with myriad challenges in today’s interconnected world. One of the most pressing is digital transformation. The swift pace of technological advancements means that businesses are in a perpetual cycle of adaptation, from integrating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation to bolstering cybersecurity measures. Globalisation, too, presents its own set of challenges. Leading in a globalised market demands a deep understanding of diverse cultures, intricate regulations and varying economic dynamics. Talent management remains a significant hurdle. Leaders must devise strategies to attract, retain and nurture top talent, especially in the light of evolving workforce dynamics and the ascent of remote working models. Equally paramount is the challenge of sustainability and corporate responsibility. In a world where businesses are under heightened scrutiny, leaders are tasked with balancing sound balance sheets with ethical operations and greater societal commitment. Lastly, economic uncertainties, be they due to geopolitical tensions, inflation and potential economic downturns, or unforeseen events like pandemics, are constantly looming, necessitating leaders to chart their courses with foresight and agility.
(Photo by Taspho)
This interview first appeared in the October edition of GOLD magazine. Click here to view it.