Global Leadership Forecast 2021 Study | DDI

Leadership & Culture

This DDI report, in partnership with Josh Bersin, summarizes best talent practices and provides key trends to guide the future of leadership. Each section has two parts: 1) data and conclusions, 2) potential actions. While the report’s findings are too numerous to summarize, one clear theme is that firms will need to develop leaders prepared to lead in an environment of unpredictability and constant crisis. Said differently, the ability to embrace uncertainty and develop new skills rapidly will be the hallmark of effective leadership in the years ahead. And with bench strength to fill critical roles reported at its lowest in a decade, many firms will be at risk to have ready-now leaders when the economy recovers. In examining leadership preparedness by industry (page 11), bench strength is 10–25% below current capabilities in every industry, with Retail and Consumer Products having the largest gap. The report cites “ unpredictability” as the biggest reason for the decline in bench strength and, as a result, advises that firms view bench strength much less in terms of one-to-one replacements for key roles. Instead, they should focus on creating leadership teams with “complementary strengths and cross-collaboration, enabling them to weather change better.” Bringing further concern to the bench strength issue is that various sources warn that a mass exodus of CEO and other C-suite members is coming–which I have shared in a previous post. Given these factors, firms will need to have plans in place to mitigate these risks.

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