Rufat Azizov






Steel Manufacturing


Jan 2019 - Sept 2020

By Rufat Azizov

Leaders with sustainable development mind-sets are a must!

Having experience in chemistry, oil-gas, heavy steel and construction materials production, energy demand optimization is one of my favourite topics in general. Energy demand reduction during the production is in the agenda of managers or business owners, but usually as a cost saving factor, to save energy costs, to make more profit, not as one of the world’s sustainable development goals. For example, production plant energy usage could be reduced by returning energy from furnaces back to the system, but in most cases it is not done because of production stoppages for improvement, additional maintenance planning and long term ROI.  Besides clean energy, clean water, responsible consumption, and life below water, climate change, viable cities, poverty and good health are among such world problems. How can we overcome these problems, if they are not aligning with the financial or daily performance KPIs of companies or employees? One of the solutions is engagement programs by governments, but without enough skills and lack of understanding of such problems, engagement programs will stay only on paper. Even though there are thousands of pages of health and safety and energy management procedures, mega oil-gas companies with huge experience continue to harm people and contaminate oceans. It is obvious that leaders or managers don’t pay enough attention to the sustainability development factors, as they are not affecting them financially in short term and more importantly they haven’t got enough broad skills or experience on these subjects. Nowadays, the rise of robots engage discussions regarding future of works, but the future of the planet also requires attention. No planet means no work at all…

GOTO – Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford is probably going to be one of my favourite modules during the EMBA program. The main objective of the GOTO program is to focus on equipping future leaders with the skills to understand complex global challenges through a systems-based approach, and to identify opportunities for intervention. The grand challenges we face as a society and planet – climate change and environmental degradation, social disruptions driven by poverty and income inequality, unequal access to healthcare and education. The word “systems-based approach” is key here. GOTO is a unique program designed to develop skills as a system leader and complex-problem solver by allowing them to apply a systems-thinking approach to world-scale problems. It means the program not only evaluates existing issues, but also teaches you how problems in different systems are integrated, how problems should be defined, what is the systematic road map to problem solving and how any alteration to systems can affect that or other systems. The program is designed so that participants are involved in continuous brainstorming of problem statements, system mapping, group meetings, concept preparation, and communication with real world companies, NGO’s, non-corporates and tutorial sessions. The programs or teaching methods that create habits are the most important ones.

Company high-level managers and leaders should be equipped with the mind-set and skills required for systems thinking and improvement for complex social and environmental challenges. Understanding the trends in technology development related to sustainability goals, application of tools, right down to the root of the problem, define key players, enablers, inhibitors, assess the interdependencies of challenges and infrastructures. Furthermore, leaders should push the whole process from the top down through the whole organization, ensuring each employee has awareness of these subjects. It should be the golden rule of each company and high-level managers should be responsible for driving this process.
Any habit has three components consequently, ignition (signal), process and motivation. Step by step, the well-structured GOTO program covers all three components to establish a sustainable development mind-set. Detailed and specific descriptions of sustainability issues, defining key challenges and possible opportunities ignites thoughts and actions. System-based approach, understanding system transformations, inhibitors and enablers of system variations, mapping the whole process and the methods of reframing systems clarifies the process of the sustainability mind-set. Equipping future leaders with sustainable development knowledge, communication with real stakeholders, working on specific projects and getting impactful results is a significant motivation for future leaders.

GOTO Class


Sustainability Leaders Party


Sustainable College Dinners

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