LEADERS WITHOUT TITLES
The term “leader” no longer applies exclusively to those with big titles or corner offices. Companies are increasingly defining leaders by their influence and impact and not by hierarchy. Higher-performing companies are more likely to identify a leader as a top performer, regardless of that employee’s position on the organisational chart, according to the American Management Association, which queried senior business and HR executives from more than 40 countries. Fifty-three per cent of respondents considered individuals to be leaders based on impact and high performance. That amount grows to 58% among high-performing companies and 70% among those considered to have highly effective global leadership development.
TECH IN THE BREACH
The same technology that can bring people together is also separating them at work. Sixty-four per cent of 2,300 CIOs surveyed by professional staffing consulting firm Robert Half said increased use of mobile devices has led to more breaches in workplace etiquette. That’s up from 51% who reported increased lapses in etiquette three years earlier.
The number of employees on international assignments is on the rise, and so are the complexity and customisation of companies’ international assignment programmes. International expansions and acquisitions by companies of all sizes added to the demand for globally mobile talent, according to KPMG and PwC. The average number of global assignment locations supported by a multinational company was 22 in 2009, up from 13 in 1998, according to PwC. That number is projected to rise to 33 by 2020.
TURNOVER TURNS UP
Worldwide employee turnover, which has been flat in recent years, is set to rise in 2014, according to global management consulting firm The Hay Group and UK consultancy Centre for Economics and Business Research. An estimated 161.7 million workers are expected to leave their jobs, up 12.9% from 2012. Turnover is expected to accelerate in subsequent years and reach 192 million by 2018.
THE TRAITS THAT SEPARATE CEOs FROM OTHER LEADERS
A willingness to take calculated risks, a bias towards thoughtful action and the ability to efficiently read people are the three attributes that separate chief executives from other leaders. That’s according to Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm, which surveyed more than 3,700 executives at large companies in North America and Europe.
Overall, nine of 60 common traits separate CEOs from the rest of the leadership pack. The other six on Russell Reynolds’s list: forward thinking, optimistic, constructively tough-minded, measured emotion, pragmatically inclusive and a willingness to trust.
Analysis of the nine attributes “reveals a number of interesting CEO profile paradoxes,” according to Russell Reynolds, which detailed several CEO “differentiators” related to the attributes. For example, the CEO differentiator for the attribute “measured emotion” is “displays intensity/emotion but maintains control.”
The CEO differentiator for “efficient reader of people” is someone who “seeks to understand different perspectives but does not overanalyse.”
The research recommends three actions that CEOs, aspiring CEOs and boards can take to improve succession planning, leadership development and talent retention strategies:
CEO success profiles: Russell Reynolds recommends incorporating the nine attributes into an individual’s success profile and assessing succession candidates on those nine attributes.
- Development plans: For internal CEO succession candidates, design a formal plan with real-world situations that target improvement areas. “Help candidates think through the key lessons each experience will teach,” the report said.
- Performance reviews: Regularly review the development plan to gauge improvement.
Elizabeth Nilsen, CPA, CGMA, CFO of West Yost and Associates: “The most important qualification for a CFO in today’s environment is an individual who, besides having the technical skills and having the ethical background that is expected of somebody in that role, is somebody who’s a partner with the rest of the organisation, not just the CEO.”
Doug Roosa, CPA, CGMA, director of internal controls and SOX compliance, General Motors: “It’s encouraging the organisation, leading the organisation to give consideration to innovation, not to stand in the way of it. But to be an advocate for that and then helping find ... metrics that you can measure the success of that innovation and progress against that innovation to drive it and then ... helping hold people accountable for driving results that ultimately come from that innovation.”
Jenine Dalrymple, CPA, CGMA, CFO of Southwest Energy: “The biggest advice I give people who are afraid of presenting is: ‘You know more about it than most people in the room, and it’s important to realise that you deserve to be up there. You’re there for a reason. And if someone does know more than you, well, that’s good. Maybe you’ll learn something back from them.’”