My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, marketing, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.
Scott Mitchell discusses his professional background, current focus, and insights about how the world is emerging.
Profile: A 20 year Sumitomo Chemical Group Company employee, Mr. Mitchell is working to grow the Sumitomo Chemical business in the Americas with a focus on enhancing the Sumitomo Chemical brand, improving the efficiency of administrative functions and developing new business.
The company’s diverse business categories include basic chemicals, petrochemicals & plastics, IT-related chemicals, health & crop sciences, and pharmaceuticals.
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Sumitomo Chemical’s corporate values and business philosophy extend to the Group Companies of the Americas by contributing solutions to the problems facing the global environment and society, and the enrichment of people’s lives. In order to accomplish these global needs and challenges, Mr. Mitchell is working to achieve a balance of profitable business operations, the preservation of the environment, safety, health, product quality and social activity.
Scott exemplifies the concept of harmony between the company’s interests and those of the public through his long time engagement in the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work.
Scott is also an active member of a number of United Nations Advisory and Workgroups. These are consultative groups that support the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Lead organizations and engage corporate CSR sponsors to work toward alleviating poverty and sustainable global development.
Through the company’s endeavors in these critical areas, Scott hopes to play a significant role in building a sustainable society and realizing the corporate goals.
Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?
Scott N. Mitchell: I have enjoyed an exceptional career. I have been on an exciting trajectory for the past twenty years with Sumitomo Chemical Company.
Our philosophical business history is grounded in the concept of harmony between the company’s interests and those of the public including the environment and our global society. I have always taken my stewardship of business ethics and change and innovation to heart.
I am turning fifty in a few weeks. I have a long perspective of global business, social responsibility, and the driving forces of change.
I like to understand everything about change. I especially like to explore the points at which ideas, trends, and behavior cross certain thresholds. What illuminates the best decisions to initiate change?
Although I do not feel that my view is changing radically, I think I am becoming more practical about my/our actions.
Looking back, I was more willing to swing for the fences on every hit. I think I am more reserved and willing to accept smaller steps toward progress.
Having said that, more and more speed is necessary to stay ahead with a brand that faces today’s challenges to meet global needs and enrich people’s lives.
…if you choose to be in the race, you need to lead with change and innovation.
MO: How do you see the way the world is emerging?
SNM:It is an exciting time to be alive! Especially whenever and wherever people share responsibility for each other.
I think the world is emerging with greater complexity.
I believe the world is becoming more multi-modal. We face significant implications based on all the options available.
There are extreme cross-overs between normal and dysfunctional variances controlled by businesses, societies, and governments.
This is a time when moral competitive business processes are challenged by companies who do harm to the environment and our fellow human beings.
Globalization requires a markedly greater need of illuminated corporate cultures that society can trust.
In the global context, there are exceptional companies and individuals demonstrating responsible focus and leadership in every category, on every front.
Through my work at the United Nations, our advisories and consultative groups engage corporate social responsibility (CSR) sponsors to work toward alleviating poverty and sustainable global development.
I am encouraged on another level, because mutual well-being and respect for the public good is capturing the attention of my sons’ generation (Gen Z).
MO: What are your thoughts as you look forward?
SNM: I think we must be open to change…and not just the surface, but real change. Change requires clarity and understanding. Most ignore change because it is very difficult. But we need to make a choice. Not choosing is a choice. There are major implications of change and how we view our businesses and lives.
Defining and/or redefining ourselves (companies, products, people) is required today for going forward.
I wish we had more perfect information to make our choices, but we do not… it is the speed thing again. We must have our antennae up and our eyes open.
It is an exciting time for those of us who have an intense interest in change and innovation and producing new adaptive value—for ourselves and the brands we manage.