Longing for Leadership

Data Point Tuesday
Last week I discussed one of the trends (reskilling HR teams) called out in Deloitte’s annual Global Human Capital Trends Report for 2014. Recently released and influenced by the work of Bersin by Deloitte, the report examines 12 trends that represent the way employees today are driving their organizations to innovate and transform human capital practices. The report, as usual, is full of interesting data on human capital management trends and observations about the impact of those trends. It is definitely worth a read.

This week I’d like to look at another top talent issue facing organizations around the world as identified by Deloitte: leadership. Leadership is cited as the number one talent issue organizations today face, with 86% of respondents surveyed citing leadership as “urgent” or “important”. This is compared with a meager 13% of the same respondents that claim they are doing an excellent job developing leaders at all levels. So of all the trends discussed in Deloitte’s survey, this marks the largest “readiness gap”. Developing the next generation of leaders is urgent, yet very few report meeting the challenge.

When it comes to organizational strategies, most are requiring some significant tweaks due to the increasingly global, tech-savvy, interconnected, and diverse people that are the 21st century workforce, and leadership development is not exempt from this. Organizations are facing challenges such as developing multiple generations of leaders – not just Millennials, developing leaders with high flexibility and global fluency, and ensuring that leaders have the skills to understand and adapt to rapidly changing technologies. Essentially, leadership is taking on a much broader meaning than it did previously, where it may have described simply developing the next CEO or company C-Suite executive.

Looking at responses from executives who participated in Deloitte’s survey paints a clear picture of perceived leadership gaps. 66% reported believing that they are “weak” in their ability to develop Millennial leaders and just 5% rated themselves as “excellent”. Additionally, 51% of executives have little confidence in their ability to maintain clear, consistent, succession programs and just 8% feel they have “excellent” programs to build global skills.

Global Human Capital Trends Report for 2014It becomes clear then that as the global recovery continues to strengthen and organizations start to execute on growth strategies, that these gaps can only be filled by intentional focus and commitment to leadership development and training programs at all levels. Deloitte’s report suggests that companies should start by engaging their own top executives to develop leadership strategies and actively participate in them; refresh previous leadership strategies to link with evolving business goals; and implement a unique leadership program. They recommend that organizations focus on three aspects for developing leaders: developing at all levels, developing global leaders locally, and developing a succession mindset.

If companies want to grow in a global world, they need to grow global leaders. And Deloitte’s research shows clearly that this doesn’t happen accidentally.

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Filed under Bersin, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Deloitte, HR, HR Data, Human Capital, Leadership

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