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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Top Five Trends - Leadership Insights from Top Executives

Whether you're an emerging leader, a seasoned pro or a top exec, you'll want to take note of five trends that are having - and will continue to have - a significant effect on business and leadership.

The trends are based on results from CCL's groundbreaking research on "The Changing Nature of Leadership" as well as on data collected from 247 senior executives who attended CCL's Leadership at the Peak program from July 2006 to April 2007.

  1. The Rise of Complex Challenges. Most executives (91 percent) believe the challenges their organizations face are more complex than they were just five years ago. According to the executives, the top factors that contribute to the increasing complexity of business are internal changes to the organization, market dynamics, a shortage of talent and globalization. "It appears that organizations and individuals will have to keep doing more with less while responding even faster to changes in their industry and economy."
  2. The Innovation Revolution. Everyone is looking for the next big thing, but how are they going about finding it? The executives report that they promote innovation in their organizations primarily through overt innovation efforts, such things as ideation processes, task forces, cross functional innovation teams, off-site innovation programs, reward/recognition programs and research/external best practices.
  3. The Art of Virtual Leadership. Organizations are continually asked to bridge cross-cultural, geographical and functional boundaries. Eighty-five percent of 129 leaders surveyed believe that virtual leadership is a necessary skill for senior leaders in their organization. Further, 92 percent of 115 executives believe virtual leadership requires a different skill set from face-to-face leadership. According to the executives surveyed, communication is the central skill for effective virtual leadership.
  4. Collaboration Nation. Collaboration is becoming a central part of our work as leaders. Over 97 percent of executives surveyed believe that leaders in their organization must collaborate to succeed. However, only 47 percent of 115 executives believe leaders in their organization are highly skilled in collaboration. To fill this gap between the need and the skill set, leaders and organizations need to develop the mindset, culture and competencies that support collaboration.
  5. The World of Interruption. Research from Gloria Marks (reported in New York Magazine 2007, The Science of Interruption) states that the average worker is interrupted every 11 minutes on the job. Further, it takes those same workers about 25 minutes on average to return to the original task. CCL's study of senior executives shows that they are interrupted about every 30 to 40 minutes (note that the CCL data is self reported whereas Marks' is by observation). The difference in the two studies begs the question, do people even recognize interruptions or are they accustomed to it? Regardless, the pattern is clear that focused, long periods of work are rare in today's organizations.
BOTTOMLINE: Read about these top 5 -- and the other 5 trends -- that are top of mind for organizational leadership here.

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