Driving Sustainable Performance: A Discussion with Hintsa and RRA

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We brought together a range of cross-industry people leaders to explore how organisations can achieve the sustainable performance needed to meet ESG targets.



Annastiina Hintsa  

 Guest Speaker - Annastiina Hintsa | CEO, Hintsa Performance 

Entrepreneur in second generation, Annastiina has witnessed the growth of Hintsa Performance for over two decades. She is a leader and public speaker fascinated by the resilience, capacity and adaptability of the human mind and body.



Organisations are increasingly making ambitious public commitments to net zero and other ESG goals. Delivering these promises is going to take a culture and mindset shift that will require resilience and tenacity from all involved.

The intensity of this effort will raise significant challenges for people leaders as they ensure the sustainable performance of everyone across the organisation.

To discuss a way forward, we brought together a group of people leaders to share their challenges, opportunities, and ideas, and hear from a panel of experts:

  • Annastiina Hintsa, CEO of the sustainable human performance coaching company Hintsa
  • Anna Penfold, Global Human Resources Practice Lead at Russell Reynolds Associates
  • Sarah Galloway, Global Sustainability Lead at Russell Reynolds Associates

Here, we share lessons across the two key themes that emerged during the event.


The need to support wellbeing

Delivering ambitious sustainability targets will put pressure on everyone across an organisation. This intense pressure can drastically reduce wellbeing, which negatively affects performance. Annastiina shared research that proves the level of impact poor wellbeing has:

  • The O.C. Tanner Institute has found that people with excellent wellbeing are on average 19% more productive than colleagues with poor wellbeing.
  • The McKinsey Health Institute has found that stress affects our ability to regulate our behavior, meaning we can become more toxic and less able to perceive toxicity in others.

People leaders are already responsible for employee wellbeing, with around 80% of those attending our talk saying it was within their remit as part of a straw poll. To drive a greater impact on wellbeing, consider six questions:

1. What’s the one thing you could do differently today? 2. How does wellbeing drive value in your organisation? 3. What are the simplest wellbeing measures you can introduce? 4. How can you behave to support a culture of wellbeing? 5. How do you reflect wellbeing in your key processes, such as evaluations? 6. How can you support employees at different career milestones?


The need to embed sustainability into leadership culture.

For organisations to effectively integrate sustainability into their strategy and operations, they need to embed it in the leadership culture.

For HR leaders, this means supporting the recruitment and development of sustainable leaders and integrating sustainability into reward systems


Ensure the board and CEO use sustainable leadership potential and experience as key criteria when choosing senior leaders.


Embed sustainable leadership into your CEO and C-suite succession management frameworks and planning.


Integrate sustainability into the objectives, incentives, and remuneration of board members, the CEO, and executives.


Make the development of a sustainable mindset and sustainable leadership attributes core to training and coaching.


What makes a sustainable leader?

Sustainable leaders combine a sustainable mindset—the purpose-driven belief that business isn’t a commercial activity divorced from its societal and environmental context—with four traits:

  1. Multi-level systems thinking – They recognise the interconnectivity of the ecosystem in which their business operates and are naturally curious, with high levels of ambition and results orientation.

  2. Stakeholder inclusion – They don’t just manage stakeholders but include them and consider a wide range of views in decision-making. They also show high levels of empathy and authenticity.

  3. Long-term activation – They set audacious goals and rigorously drive concerted action and investment to achieve them. And they have the courage and resilience to stay the course in the face of setbacks or internal resistance.

  4. Disruptive innovation – They have the courage to challenge traditional approaches but are comfortable not having all the answers. And they find novel solutions that do away with tradeoffs between profitability and sustainability.



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