Executives Not Ready to Drive Growth in the Next Decade
Survey shows many don’t see effective leadership in key areas needed for post-recession business success
On the heels of the economic crisis and a rapidly changing workplace, fewer than 60% of executives and HR leaders believe that the C-suite and executive leaders are skilled in most of the key leadership capabilities needed for their organizations to succeed in the next decade. These findings are gleaned from a survey conducted by Andover, Massachusetts-based Factor In Talent, a leadership and business performance consulting firm.
According to Factor In Talent President Edith Onderick-Harvey, the key attributes that made executives and mid-level leaders successful prior to and during the recession are not those that are needed to transform companies and drive growth and performance.
Respondents to this survey represent executives and HR leaders from a wide range of industries and sizes of organization. They were asked to identify critical leadership capabilities for the next decade and how effective three levels of leaders -- C-suite, executive and mid-level -- are in these capabilities. Fewer than 60%, and, at times fewer than 50% of respondents, view the C-suite and executive leadership as effective in four of the five most important capabilities, including foreseeing future trends, developing a compelling strategy, managing talent, and driving performance and accountability. One of the highest rated areas of effectiveness for both the C-suite and executives is managing risk. However, it ranked in the bottom 20th percentile for importance.
“When you look at where we’ve been for the past two years, it is understandable that people think managing risk and setting organizational priorities are areas of strength for senior executives. However, when you look at what’s needed to drive business success in a climate with continued uncertainty, global competition and global collaboration, breakneck technological advances and multiple work options for a workforce that has been through the wringer, different strategies are needed,” notes Onderick-Harvey. “These findings show that the C-suite and other senior executives have to show their organizations they can effectively lead in this complex environment.”
Onderick-Harvey recommends companies focus on three areas in order to build leadership capacity. “First, organizations need to look at how they are assessing leadership potential and performance. What this research tells us is that skills that are focused on looking into the marketplace, creating a strategy and then engaging their talent in the execution of that strategy are going to provide significant value to the organization. It’s a value chain, not a laundry list of skills that leaders should have and demonstrate.
“The second area of focus should be on the continued development of leaders and a leadership pipeline in skill areas where they are lacking or that haven’t been needed for success in the past few years,” she continues. “Third, they need to hold leaders accountable for their performance in the human-side of leadership. Many leaders say that people are their greatest asset, but what measurable investments are they making and what results are they achieving in really engaging the full capacity of their workforce in moving their business where it needs to go? Only by engaging the full capacity of our workforce are we going to be able to continue to compete globally.”