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Leadership is less about the ‘art’, Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2017

Posted on Apr 16, 2017

Leadership today is less about the “art” of leadership and more about the challenges leaders are facing. Above all, the dramatic transformation of business is driven largely by the switch to digital. Unfortunately, many CEOs do not understand the gravity of this issue.

In a recent industry study of 800 top business executives, 67 percent believed that technology will drive greater value than human capital (and 64 percent believed people are a cost, not a driver of value).While the topic of human capital vs. technology may be in debate, some executives still continue to focus on the technology side of the business at the expense of developing leaders.

Of course, technology is critically important, but human capital remains indispensable.

However, the concept of “leader as hero” no longer scales. Highly effective companies such as Google, Lyft, WL Gore, Mastercard, and Atlassian look at leadership as a team effort and recruit leaders who can work together, complement each other, and function as a team.2

When older business models are no longer working, leaders need new capabilities. Yet most companies are digital “immigrants,” new to this world and built on older models such as control mechanisms and financial returns. Now, companies are scaling for different goals, such as innovation and moving at high speed. Ninety percent of companies are redesigning their organizations to be more dynamic, team-centric, and connected. These changes require not just new operating models, but a different type of leadership to mobilize and execute these models.

Because of these shifts, organizations need people who can lead teams and partner with the broader ecosystems. This new type of leader must understand how to build and lead teams; keep people connected and engaged; and drive a culture of innovation, learning, and continuous improvement. They must also be able to lead a workforce that now includes contractors, the contingent workforce, and crowd talent.

A natural corollary of this is that leaders need interdisciplinary skills. Companies such as GE, IBM, Nestlé, Xerox, and Mastercard now bring leaders together for collaborative design and problem-solving exercises, challenging them to understand how different business functions, industries, and technologies come together to form solutions. The days of a line leader reaching the executive level in a sole function have ended.3

Perhaps most important, innovation and risk-taking now define high-impact leadership. In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”4 Risk-taking has become one of the most important drivers of a high-performing leadership culture.

For more go to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2017 at http://bit.ly/2p2Fe4m