Megatrends Report Pinpoints Leadership Pipeline, Mentoring, HR Issues

The 2018 edition of the Global Leadership Forecast, based on wide-reaching survey results, finds that talent pipeline issues are among the biggest problems facing organizations large and small.

Execs have all sorts of things that worry them about their organizations, but the biggest issue on their list isn’t anything hypermodern, political, or technical.

In fact, it’s personal.

A new report from The Conference Board, DDI, and EY notes that the two biggest challenges CEOs face are the development of next-gen leaders and a failure to attract the highest level of talent.

Those issues, each of which at least 60 percent of C-level executives said they fretted about, were the lead points in the organizations’ Global Leadership Forecast 2018: 25 Research Insights to Fuel Your People Strategy, a lengthy study of “megatrends” based on responses from nearly 30,000 people associated with nearly 2,500 organizations worldwide.

“If you’re deeply concerned about your organization’s lack of leadership capability, you are in the clear majority,” DDI Chief Scientist and Vice President Evan Sinar said in a news release.

The report noted that many HR professionals saw talent pipeline challenges as a major gap for their organizations and believed this would lead to weaker leadership down the road.

“A significant gap exists between the criticality of this leadership skill and leaders’ own assessment of their ability to successfully master it,” Rebecca L. Ray, one of the report’s authors, states. “The net result would be a weakened leadership cadre.”

Some of the other “megatrends” from the report:

Getting agile. The report makes the case for “agile disruption,” or quick movements based on available data. Among organizations that say they’re more agile, 91 percent use data to drive their decisions, versus 76 percent of organizations that suffer from low agility. Other traits of agile organizations are the ability to develop quickly and to take into account other points of view. “Leaders in more-agile organizations are twice as likely as their low-agility counterparts to collaborate and rely on diverse perspectives to create new solutions and opportunities, and to use multiple perspectives to gauge success,” coauthor Stephanie Neal writes.

Asking for help. The report also makes the case that simply winging it when it comes to mentorship often fails to engage new generations of potential leaders. The report notes that, among the best-performing organizations financially, 54 percent have some kind of formalized mentoring program. A “DIY” approach, the report states, only leads to issues.

Managing talent strategically. The human resources department is seeing a decline in reputation from a leadership perspective, with the job role’s limited focus on technology hurting it overall. The report recommends that more HR staffers embrace the role of “anticipator,” with a focus on using analytics and strategic planning to manage talent within an organization. “Every HR professional must perform some tasks in each role,” coauthor Richard Wellins writes. “However, while over the past decade HR professionals have focused on their function’s operating models, policies, and systems, they now must refocus on how to manage talent strategically.”

(Hollygraphic/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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