2 min read

Transformation Leadership: Bathing in disruption

Transformation Leadership with Geoff Skingsley

How as a highly successful organisation can you get ahead of the disruptions you’re facing into? How do you create true belief in a transformation across a top team and out into an organisation? And how can leaders create an environment that constantly learns as you go forward? In episode 3 of this bonus miniseries of Leadership2050, Andrew White and co-host Adam Canwell of EY talk to Geoff Skingsley, the Chairman of L’Oréal UK and Ireland, a company that has been at the forefront of transformation. 

'Success involves seeing what’s coming and being there first.'


Today everyone assumes digital is a natural state of affairs but Geoff reflects on his business a decade ago when digital was still in its infancy. Even though L’Oréal was very successful the CEO knew that the company needed to prepare for how the industry could transform. The idea was to move the entire organisation to be digitally ready and digital first.

As part of that transformation strategy the entire executive committee was taken for a week to Silicon Valley. ‘We bathed in disruption and saw first hand why they did it and how they did it’ Geoff says ‘because either we will take part in the disruption or we ourselves will be disrupted.’

For this special deep dive into transformation leadership Andrew has teamed up with research partner Adam Canwell, from the EY organisation, to explore the journey global leaders and their workforce go through as they lead their organisations through significant change. The need to transform successfully – and to do so continuously – is an imperative for all organisations and as part of this project the research team surveyed 935 senior leaders and direct reports, as well as 1,127 workforce members from around the globe and across multiple industries. And yet, despite all the advances in technological capability, management theory, and huge investments of money, time and resources over the last 25 years, the failure rate of transformations remains stubbornly high. Andrew and Adam aim is to demystify the process of transformation and by studying the complex factors behind the high failure rate of transformations they explore how leaders can drive transformations that result in lasting change.

Andrew's research and teaching focuses on how leaders transcend 21st century challenges such as disruptive technology change and the climate crisis. Also, how they create cultures that are diverse, inclusive, resilient and high performing, alongside the ongoing challenge of delivering profitable growth. At Oxford he directs the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme, and works with leaders from industry and governments across the world.