Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Are you worried about your next generation of leaders? You’re not alone. According to a new survey
from Pearson and Executive Development Associates (EDA), 57 percent of
business leaders said their leadership talent pipeline was the same or
weaker today than it was two years ago. Seventy-five percent said
increasing bench strength will be their top business priority for the
next two to three years.

Is this too little too effort? When asked what skills were needed to
assume executive positions within the next three to five years,
respondents cited strategic thinking, leading change, the ability to
create a vision and engage others around it, the ability to inspire,
and the ability to understand how the total enterprise works. But the
respondents also agreed these were the very skills lacking in their
current talent pool.

The right successor must have just the right blend of personality,
time and experience. And with a more complex and faster changing
marketplace destined to be our future, the ability to deal with
ambiguity and paradox is paramount. This combination requires innate
talent plus development. Creating this competency can take years and
many people just are not equipped to ascend to the role. And others who
have the skills and experience aren’t willing to give up their personal
and family lives in exchange for a promotion and title. What motivated
the Baby Boomers doesn’t motivate Gen X and Gen Y.

In addition to lack of skills, a leadership shortage is all but a
done deal. When the Baby Boomers finally decide to slow down or retire,
pure demographics will stall the succession. Gen X, the succeeding
generation, is little more than half the size of the Boomers.
And many Gen X and Gen Y are putting family before careers. That’s not
all. While three to five years may not be enough time to develop the
next generation of leaders, it might also be too long in a competitive
market. Many talented Gen X are
tired of waiting for the Boomers to get out of the way. As the economy
is rebounding, job offers will start coming in. It is already
happening. Competitors and emerging companies are scouring the job
market for talent and your next leader could be their target.

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Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Are you worried about your next generation of leaders? You’re not alone. According to a new survey
from Pearson and Executive Development Associates (EDA), 57 percent of
business leaders said their leadership talent pipeline was the same or
weaker today than it was two years ago. Seventy-five percent said
increasing bench strength will be their top business priority for the
next two to three years.

Is this too little too effort? When asked what skills were needed to
assume executive positions within the next three to five years,
respondents cited strategic thinking, leading change, the ability to
create a vision and engage others around it, the ability to inspire,
and the ability to understand how the total enterprise works. But the
respondents also agreed these were the very skills lacking in their
current talent pool.

The right successor must have just the right blend of personality,
time and experience. And with a more complex and faster changing
marketplace destined to be our future, the ability to deal with
ambiguity and paradox is paramount. This combination requires innate
talent plus development. Creating this competency can take years and
many people just are not equipped to ascend to the role. And others who
have the skills and experience aren’t willing to give up their personal
and family lives in exchange for a promotion and title. What motivated
the Baby Boomers doesn’t motivate Gen X and Gen Y.

In addition to lack of skills, a leadership shortage is all but a
done deal. When the Baby Boomers finally decide to slow down or retire,
pure demographics will stall the succession. Gen X, the succeeding
generation, is little more than half the size of the Boomers.
And many Gen X and Gen Y are putting family before careers. That’s not
all. While three to five years may not be enough time to develop the
next generation of leaders, it might also be too long in a competitive
market. Many talented Gen X are
tired of waiting for the Boomers to get out of the way. As the economy
is rebounding, job offers will start coming in. It is already
happening. Competitors and emerging companies are scouring the job
market for talent and your next leader could be their target.

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