“It is evident that conventional leadership development practices are no longer adequate. Organizations globally need to incorporate the next generation leadership competencies in order to address the development needs of their rising leaders. This expanded group of upcoming leaders need to have a broader skillset, one that equips them to think and act globally in a VUCA business environment. They must do so while embracing cross-cultural diversity and cultivating collaborative relationships within and outside their walls. These are the hallmarks of the mindset needed to develop effective global leaders.”
– Prof Sattar Bawany (2016)
As quoted in ‘2016 Trends in Executive Development: A Benchmark Report’
A company’s leadership pipeline is expected to deliver its “next generation” of leaders who are capable of leading now. The payoff is a supply of leadership talent that simultaneously achieves targets, strengthens and protects ethical reputation, and navigates transformational change in pursuit of a bright, competitive future. Because customers’ changing requirements are so significant, and customer focus is a “hot topic” for executive development leaders, investing an appropriate amount of time, energy, and other resources to develop the capabilities of high potential leaders in these areas will be very important. Mentoring, feedback and coaching, and training programs are all potentially valuable ways to address this need.
In essence, the heart of the managerial challenge that confronts today’s managers is learning how to lead in situations of ever greater VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) globalised business environment, allied with the needs to deal with scale, complexity and new organisational forms that often break with the traditional organisational models and structures within which many have learned their ‘managerial trade’. So the basic assumption that past experience is the key for future managerial success is more open to scrutiny than ever.
A VUCA world is one that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. The World Economic Forum (WEF) report “Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015” and the “Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015” both recognise the challenges a VUCA world places on leaders.
A VUCA world increases the demand for quality leadership. Facing an increasingly VUCA world, society needs strong leaders more than ever. It’s concerning that in such times the quality of leadership is barley improving.
A startling 86% of respondents to the WEF Survey on the Global Agenda (See Figure 1) agree that we have a leadership crisis in the world today. Why would they say this? Perhaps because the international community has largely failed to address any major global issue in recent years. It has failed to deal with global warming, then barely dealt with the failure of the global economy, which has caused such severe problems in North America and Europe. Meanwhile violence has been left to fester in the Middle East, the region our Survey showed is most affected by, and concerned about this problem. So why are we suffering such a lack of leadership?
Figure 1 – The Leadership Crisis in the Global Context
Source: The Global Leadership Crisis – WEF Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015
The “Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015” was recently published as a joint effort of Development Dimensions International (DDI) and The Conference Board. The research is based on survey responses from 13,124 leaders; 1,528 global human resource executives; and 2,031 participating organisations.
The key findings of the Global Leadership Forecast 2014 – 2015 are as follows (See Figure 2):
Figure 2 – The State of Quality of Leadership Over the Years (2009 -2014)
Source: Quality of Leadership – DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015
Leading in a VUCA world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (See Figure 3) not only provide a challenging environment for leaders to operate and for executive development programs to have an impact: it also provides a much-needed range of new competencies. The new reality is resulting in the realization that new and different capabilities are needed to succeed.
Figure 3 – Characteristics of a VUCA Business Environment
In particular, leaders today must deal with:
Meeting the Leadership Challenges in a VUCA World
Adapted from: Sattar Bawany (2016), “NextGen Leaders for a VUCA World: Transforming Future Leaders for Success” in Leadership Excellence Essentials, Issue 08.2016 (August 2016).
To lead successfully in the VUCA World, leaders need to “L.E.A.P.“ through the fog and demonstrate the cognitive readiness competencies and also possesses the following traits (Bawany, 2016):
Liberal: open to new behaviour or opinions and willing to adapt or discard existing values if and when necessary to adapt to the new world
Exuberant: filled with lively energy with sense of passion and optimism in engaging the team and other stakeholders
Agility: proficiently change and evolve the learning organisation with nextgen leadership competencies including cognitive readiness, critical thinking and emotional & social intelligence amongst others.
Partnership: Build trust-based partnership with teams (intra & inter) as well as externally with other stakeholders including customers and suppliers.
Talent management and retention is perennially at the top of CEO’s most pressing worries. A company’s leadership pipeline is expected to deliver its “next generation” of ready-now leaders. The key to ensuring an organisation has the leaders it needs when it needs them, is to accelerate the performance of future leaders including high potential employees, so that their skills and leadership abilities are as strong as possible when they are needed particularly as leaders transition from role to role.
A company’s leadership pipeline is expected to deliver its “next generation” of ready-now leaders. The payoff is a supply of leadership talent that simultaneously achieves targets, bolsters and protects ethical reputation, and navigates transformational change in pursuit of a bright competitive future. Unfortunately, some Boards and CEOs neglect their talent management accountability – consequently, their pipelines run dry. When this occurs, the downward spiral of competitive capability becomes discernable, the edge is lost, and the “magic” disappears. The competition begins to outwit, outflank and outperform these companies.
Executive and leadership training programs may be strengthened, broadened and deepened to include inspiring and engaging others, as well as Cognitive Readiness and Critical Thinking skills. These capabilities can be addressed by incorporating specific activities and exercises designed to increase awareness of their impact and importance in familiar techniques, such as case studies or applicable business simulations.
Additionally, opportunities for application and practice can be provided in experiencebased approaches where participants work to apply the concepts and skills directly to real business issues, while colleagues and facilitators provide feedback based on behaviors they observed during their work together.
Because customers’ changing requirements are so significant and customer focus is a “hot topic,” investing an appropriate amount of time, energy, and other resources to develop the capabilities of high potential leaders in these areas will be very important.
Figure 4: Framework Development for Future Leaders
We are operating in a hypercompetitive VUCA business environment. The world moves faster today when compared to 20-30 years ago. Companies feel the pressure to decrease time to market and improve the quality of products while delivering on ever-changing customer expectations to maintain competitive posture – that is, be adaptive and nimble. Driving results in High Performance organisations (HPOs) is difficult even for companies who have the benefit of dedicated and knowledgeable employees and business leaders to leverage.
Leadership is all about the ability to have impact and influence on your followers so as to engage them towards achieving results of your organisation leveraging a repertoire of Leadership Styles, Ontological Humility, Servant Leadership (Level 5) blended with elements of Emotional & Social Intelligence Competencies (Bawany, 2014).Today, people often point to the importance of various leadership competencies including cognitive readiness (critical & strategic thinking skills), emotional& social intelligence, managerial coaching and leading team for performance, effective negotiation & conflict management and cross cultural communication & diversity management indriving results and achieving organisational success in a high performance organisation (See Figure 4).
Figure 5 – Framework for Development of High-Performance Organisation
There are two things we can say with certainty about the future: it will be different, and it will surprise. Now, more than ever, leaders have to navigate unfamiliar, challenging times, a quickening pace of change, increasing expectations, and a rising tide of rapidly-evolving conditions. This new and different environment is challenging leaders to find new ways to lead their organizations and achieve sustained success. And, because of these circumstances, there is a thirst for leadership, yet leaders face a whirlwind environment laden with remarkable opportunities and daunting challenges through which to lead their people and organizations.
The once identifiable boundaries of our marketplaces and industries have become permeable. Now they shift continuously, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but always feeling slightly beyond our grasp. In this today’s disruptive environment, leaders realise that a sustainable future is only possible if organisations can sense, adapt, and respond to change; if they can help their organisations evolve with an evolving world.
In view of the current disruptive and VUCA centric business environment, now, more than ever, leaders have to navigate unfamiliar, challenging times, a quickening pace of change, increasing expectations, and a rising tide of rapidly-evolving conditions. This new and different environment is challenging leaders to find new ways to lead their organisations and achieve sustained success. Because of these circumstances, there is a thirst for leadership, yet leaders face a whirlwind environment laden with remarkable opportunities and daunting challenges through which to lead their people and organisations. Against this backdrop, we have designed, developed and successfully delivered in recent years, this Masterclass Series which leverages on best-in-class or thought-leadership concepts, tools and techniques to drive organisational & leadership excellence.
It is designed to provide CEOs, C-Suite Leaders as well Business and HR leaders with a platform to develop from being good to great. The programs incorporate a number of unique features and work on a number of levels. It is specifically aimed at enhancing and developing the skills, knowledge and behaviours of the participants. The participants will develop their understanding of Leadership Effectiveness and how it will lead to a creation of a sustainable competitive advantage for their respective organisations through the development of an organisational climate that will contribute towards enhancing employee engagement and productivity.
The following are the listing of 6 separate Leadership Masterclass Series:
For further information on CEE Leadership Development Programs and how we could support the development of your Next Generation of Leaders, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.