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How interconnectivity and diversity will impact competition for tomorrow’s leaders?

28/09/17 Andy Raymond Head of Executive Search

Leadership today is more complex than at any previous point. The growth of technology has ushered in an unprecedented rate of rapid and constant change. Today’s business environment is truly global and more interconnected than ever. This has increased the demand of culturally-aware and digitally fluent leaders who can both manage diverse teams and resonate with a diverse customer base.

Andy Raymond, Director of Redline Executive has vast experience of working with global business leaders during his executive search career. We asked Andy his views on the challenges of today’s CEO. “The best leaders today combine agility and emotional intelligence with innovative thinking and an inclusive mind-set. They must be adaptable and able to pivot quickly with sudden market changes in an uncertain economic and geopolitical climate, says Andy.

Andy continues: “The demanding flexibility of today’s global business can become overwhelming , which often leaves CEO’s to simply operate on a day to day basis to ensure the company keeps ticking, leaving little time for planning and strategically tackling the challenges of tomorrow.

We are all aware of businesses of yesterday who achieved rapid success only to plummet just as fast because they did not anticipate and forecast market trends. Often not leveraging technology fast enough and alienating their customers has a huge impact on the fall of such businesses.

It is critical to avoid such fate and it is today’s CEO’s responsibility to understand how to navigate the challenges of today’s business climate to ensure they can anticipate and develop strategic plans for the challenges of tomorrow, ensuring business continuity well into the future.

At Redline Executive we work closely with our C-level clients to fully understand the challenges they face when leading global high tech businesses.  We asked Greg McHugh, Redline Executive’s Search Partners to provide us with insight on the challenges their C-suite clients and candidates are experiencing in today’s business climate.

What are your thoughts on the ‘competition for talent’?

“There certainly is a premium on top talent, says Greg. As high tech business environments grow more and more complex aligned with industry disruptions caused by technology, regulation and a wide-scale shift in demographics - competition for talent will continue to intensify. Organisations who can develop a robust employer brand, foster innovation whilst leveraging technology will attract top talent. Business leaders need to examine their organisations and distinguish their unique employment brand and assess how they compare to their key competitors. Today’s leaders must think of how their own employment value proposition allows them to protrude when competing for diverse top talent. More importantly, you cannot encapsulate your employment brand into a nice promotional package. It must be authentic and be a true reflection of your organisation.”

How can diversity play its part in driving innovation?

“There have been advancements in the understanding of the value of diverse leadership in businesses and as a result we have witnessed a greater drive in innovation and business results, says Greg. However, whilst many industries and organisations have made rapid progress in diversifying their workforce, the pace of change at C-suite and board level has remained at a slower pace. For optimal results today’s senior executives and boards must be reflective of today’s society, its customers and the companies they serve. This must comprise diversity in regards to gender, ethnicity, nationality and importantly the diversity of thought. Now that the Executive Search sector has an understanding of the advantages of diversity ay C-suite and board level, we must now foster an organisational culture of inclusion that facilities acquiring diverse perspectives into senior positions.”

“To do this effectively, organisations as well as industries must firstly make an honest, factual-based examination of the composition of their work-force at every level. If diversity drops off as you move through the organisation, then how can your leadership reflect the market, your employees at large and your customer base?” says Greg.

What are the leadership competencies required to step into Senior Executive roles?

“There will be a lack of key leadership successors in the market, says Greg. With baby boomers retiring at a rapid rate it is leaving organisations struggling to identify Gen X and Millennial talent who are equipped with leadership competencies to progress into senior executive jobs. With a massive demographic shift taking place, next generation executive leadership is not being rapidly combatted by high technology industries.” 

“During the assessment and profiling of potential C-suite candidates for the companies we assist, conversation of their abilities to develop succession plans is always discussed, says Greg. We are no longer talking about five year plans, organisations need leaders who can develop succession plans 15 years out, which also requires vital talent mapping to have a fundamental understanding of not only the talent that is required to be competitive in today’s industries, but also tomorrow and crucially how that talent will diverge, what skills will be required aligned with rapid technology innovations and what you must do to attract or develop that talent.”

What are the leadership competencies required to lead over the next decade?

“At present, there is a mismatch of current talent and future strategies, says Greg. Business strategies evolve over time. We’ve seen how the effects of digital technology, artificial intelligence and robotics change how we do business today. Dramatic changes in the last five years have allowed today’s leaders to be more reflective of where a business has been, but are still not looking ahead of where a business should be moving. As a result, the competencies of today’s senior executives do not always align with an organisation’s changing strategic plans for growth.”

“The leaders of tomorrow will need to flourish in a global environment of heightened uncertainty at a lightning fast speed, says Greg. The leadership competencies required to lead over the next decade must prioritise lateral thinking, agility, emotional intelligence, cultural acumen and confidence to lead within an uncertain climate. Leadership teams of tomorrow will also be reflective of the diversity of through required to drive innovation and growth in an ever changing business environment.”

Redline Executive are the industry-aligned key partner for C and D suite permanent and interim hiring assignments for the European Technology market. To find out more about our Executive Search Process you can download our Executive Search Brochure here.

To have a confidential discussion about our executive search services, please call Andy Raymond on +44 (0)1582 878907 or send an email to ARaymond@RedlineExecutive.com