Future Friday: Leadership is going to be a corporate black hole

Leadership in the future may be a difficult key to find.
Leadership in the future may be a difficult key to find.

In early March 2014 Deloitte published a report written by Jeff Schwartz, Josh Bersin & Bill Pelster that talked about Human Capital Trends. I thought the report was pretty depressing and wrote to that effect in Future Friday: Why the future of HR is so grim! One of the major areas that was revealed in that report dealt with leadership and how prepared companies are to deal with it.

Not a pretty picture

Eighty-six percent of the companies polled felt that leadership was either an urgent (38%) or important (48%) area for them to pay attention to. This is driven by the demographics of the workplace. Baby Boomers are leaving and leaving gaping holes that the Gen X’s cannot fill. This is true of the workforce in general but in particular in leadership. It is also driven by how the world is changing in the areas of “globalization and the speed and extent of technological change and innovation.”
As the authors say “This continuous need for new and better leaders has accelerated. In a world where knowledge doubles every year and skills have a half-life of 2.5 to 5 years, leaders need constant development.” Yet despite the recognition of this urgent and important need only 15% of the companies feel they are prepared to deal with this development. Fully 35% feel they are NOT prepared at all. North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific are feeling this need most acutely.

What to do? Create the solution

I think the first step in solving this future problem, for indeed it is both a present and future problem, it to realize it is a problem. This Deloitte study should be slapped on the desk of every CEO in the country. BUT before you do that you in HR need to do some homework. You never want to go to the CEO with just a problem but also a solution.
As a pre-step access your own employee organization. Do you have leaders? What are their skillsets? What are the demographics of the group? Is there potential in the organization to replace those leaders? Have a plan? Do some assessments, both of current good leaders and of the potential leaders that may have already been identified. Leadership assessments can be found many places, one I recommend is RightFitHR.
Once you have identified the strengths and weaknesses of both groups decide how you are going to bridge the gap. Find out what training is available. Run a cost-benefit analysis on that training. (Yes I realize you may have to do some math, but you can find someone to help you. After all it is supposed to be an HR competency today.) Identify vendors, check references and THEN take that information, along with the Deloitte study and your solution to the CEO.
If you are interested at all in preparing your company for what is going to occur 5 to 10 years from now you had better be working on it today.

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