Édition #5

What new skills are needed to send economic modelsin a new direction?

Sylvie BLANC Consultant, Auditor and Trainer. Founder of QUINTESSENS
The current multi-crisis context raises questions about the ability of the different players in a region or resort to reinvent themselves. What new skills will be needed to send business models in a new direction? How can sustainable governance be implemented?

Indeed, project-based strategy management no longer seems appropriate. The classic entrepreneurial approach which focused on the predictable aspects of a supposedly stable future is no longer relevant. Faced with uncertainty, a more global and iterative approach is required. In recent years, it has become common place to talk about agility.


An American researcher, Saras Sarasvathy, studied how entrepreneurs think and act in order to create and succeed. She defined the theory of effectuation, whose 5 principles are known in France, thanks to Philippe Silberzahn, professor of entrepreneurship at EM Lyon.

“ We need to know how to seize opportunities to create value; for example ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!’ ”

» First principle: start with what you have and use the means available to imagine the possible effects.
» Second principle: reason in terms of acceptable loss. Entrepreneurs do not like risk: they are prepared to take risks, but want to control them.
» Third principle: obtain commitments (“crazy patchwork”), to co-construct the future.
» Fourth principle: take advantage of surprises (“Lemonade”). While the idea of a business plan is to try to think of everything so that you avoid surprises, the reality is that a lot of what you plan for will not happen, and that you will not plan for what will happen. On the contrary, entrepreneurs welcome surprises and turn them to their advantage. Saras Sarasvathy has observed that you have to seize opportunities to create value; for example, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” »
» Fifth principle: create the world you want (the “pilot in the plane” principle). Effectuation invites us to focus on the controllable aspects of a future that we do not need to predict. The role of the entrepreneur is to create the future. The pilot in the plane means that the entrepreneur looks at the world not as it is, or as great minds think it will be, but as they would like it to be¹.

“Creating alliances cannot be decreed, it has to be learned!”

Putting the concept of effectuation into practice means changing the way you run your business. It forces us to change, to dare to do things differently and to let go. In this new approach, which seeks to “find” a new business model, we have to leave behind the myth of the Hero, the person who has THE good idea. We need to recognise that no one will find the right solution on their own, but that this change of direction is part of a social process, built with the help of others. The concept of collective skills and the creation of territorial development communities is gradually emerging as the way to create fertile ground. Of course, it is easy to see that problems can be solved more effectively collectively than when people work in isolation, but it is also certain that building alliances is not something that can be decreed, it has to be learned!


We know the African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. It is essential that management evolves towards a new leadership role, one that builds and drives a living, resilient model. For some years now, faced with the complexity of situations in the field, leaders have become team facilitators. If they are not trained to involve all the stakeholders and create local cooperation, the long-term survival of the business may be at risk. The organisation has to evolve to allow it to play more of a facilitating role. Consequently, it seems essential to consider training managers in new management approaches, such as holacracy, which consists of horizontal management, where each employee is autonomous and has the power to make decisions, as opposed to the “old” traditional management model, which consists of making decisions at the top and sending them down to be implemented.

The other trap to avoid is thinking that the different players are really aware of the challenges and levers involved in the ecological transition. Only a major awareness-raising “campaign”, illustrated with concrete local indicators, will allow the co-construction of a shared forward-looking vision.

“ The other trap to avoid is thinking that the different players are really aware of the challenges and levers involved in the ecological transition. Only a major awareness-raising ‘campaign’, illustrated with concrete local indicators, will enable the co-construction of a shared forward-looking vision.”

Managers must learn to surround themselves with the right people and mobilise the systems that will remove obstacles and motivate their teams to move forward to transition. The inter-industry report entitled “Impact de la transition écologique sur les métiers et les compétences de l’industrie” (Impact of the ecological transition on industry professions and skills) highlights this need for clarification and support. This was followed by an undertaking from the Ministry of Labour and OPCO 2i (an inter-industry skills and training operator) to support the challenges facing industry. To this end, a new fund of €75 million will be set up in 2023 and 2024 to help industrial companies carry out the training required for the ecological and digital transitions.


We have understood that now, more than ever, businesses have a key role to play in moving our society away from a linear economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and achieving the ultimate goal of the Paris Agreement, which aims to promote an economy that respects life, achieving climate neutrality by 2050. This goal requires innovation to use fewer raw materials and less energy in production, whilst developing alternative and renewable resources. All these new manufacturing processes, using biosourced materials and eco-design, require a substantial learning phase. Indeed, it would not be realistic to “want things to change by doing what we did before”.

1 References from the article dated 28/02/2011: www.business.lesechos.fr/entrepreneurs/business-plan/10026916-l-effectuation-et-ses-5-cles-pour-creer-la-fin-des-createurs-d-entreprise-superheros- 34176.php

Sylvie BLANC
Sylvie BLANC
Committed to supporting organisations that are working towards global performance by creating economic, human AND environmental value. A member of the Young Managers’ Centre (CJD) for 14 years, she will represent the CJD on the Auvergne-
Rhône-Alpes Economic, Social and Environmental Council from January 2024 and shares the idea that “we need to transform ourselves in order to transform our organisations”.