Our own research which has also been confirmed by other similar research conducted confirms that the quality of an organisation’s leadership community has a direct impact on the level of employee engagement and actual financial results. The quality of the leadership community correlates directly with the capability and competence of leaders – and competence is built through leadership development.

 

There is likely to be wide agreement that the strategic context within which business operates has seen some dramatic changes. A typical Porter approach will suggest that there are significant shifts in the political, economic, social, and technological dimensions of our environment. It is our contention that these changes at a fundamental level increase the level of complexity that leaders have to deal with, not only from a long-term perspective, but also in terms of shorter term actions and processes. One of the consequences of this increased complexity is that organisations need to move beyond the view that individual leaders drive business performance to a perspective that leadership brand linked to the firm or enterprise brand has become mission-critical.

 

Given the global shortage of leadership talent and talent in general, it has further become of critical importance that organisations translate the leadership brand into organisation wide leadership capacity. Clearly, as with all other strategic imperatives, it is also important that the organisation takes a perspective on the impact of the leadership capacity building processes on a broad range of business performance expectations and metrics.

 

The IBM CEO Study (2010)[1], is a survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide. Some of the key findings include:

  • Eight in ten CEOs expect their environment to grow significantly more complex but only 49 percent believe their organisations are equipped to deal with it successfully – the largest leadership challenge identified in eight years of research.
  • More than 60 percent of CEOs said that industry transformation is the top factor contributing to uncertainty, indicating a need to discover more innovative ways of managing an organisation’s structure, finances, people and strategy.

 

This raises the question– what is making this world more complex and interconnected and what do we mean by complexity? Complexity is defined as that zone between stability and predictability on one hand, and chaos and unpredictability on the other. What is happening is that the rate of chaos and unpredictability is increasing. Organisations are literally becoming more complex to manage due to the large number of interacting elements. These growing complexities of inter-organisational relationships between companies and their stakeholders are challenging companies to find new and different ways to manage across once impermeable corporate boundaries. Information inside of organisations is ambiguous and many leaders suffer from information overload.

[1] See IBM, Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study. Available at http://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/en/gbe03297usen/GBE03297USEN.PDF