NEW YORK, May 16, 2013—Companies now think more broadly about global leadership development and have higher expectations for such programs. These trends were identified by a new survey of nearly 1,200 senior business and human resource executives from more than 40 countries by American Management Association.
“Organizations worldwide—public, private and government—are increasingly focused on bringing effective global leadership development to their workforces, and there’s now a shrinking tolerance for lack of results,” said Sandi Edwards, Senior Vice President for AMA Enterprise
, a specialized division of American Management Association that offers advisory services and tailored training programs to organizations. “Companies want to ensure that employees master the global skills and competencies required to work optimally with customers, suppliers, colleagues, and distributors from a wide variety of cultures anywhere in the world.”
The 2013 survey presents a number of findings, but three stand out in defining a new outlook for global leadership development:
• More organizations define leaders by their influence, not their rank or position. More than half (53%) now consider individuals to be leaders not according to job level but by their influence and performance. Nearly 4 in 10, indicated that their definition of leader is “anyone whose role allows them to influence a group, regardless of direct reporting relationships.” According to another 14%, a leader is “anyone, whether they manage others or not, who is a top-performer in their specific role.”
• Strategic workforce planning now plays a pivotal role in shaping content for global leadership programs. Long-term strategies and values continue to drive global leadership development, but there is greater emphasis on strategic workforce planning to identify competency gaps and shape the content of development programs.
• While mastery of critical competencies related to technology and innovation is more critical than ever, these are nonetheless missing from many global leadership programs. Organizations are keenly aware of their neglect in key aspects of development. The top four competences widely absent from global leadership programs yet considered important—increased comfort with virtual technology, social network technology, creativity and building a culture of innovation—are also among the top six competencies found to have the greatest need for mastery.
Twenty-six competencies were examined in the study, including people/communication skills, business skills and global skills. According to Edwards, “Managing change and critical thinking/problem-solving are still the top two competencies for global leadership, just as they were in 2012 and 2011. There were others, however, that joined the overall top competencies: creating a culture of engagement, business acumen, embracing diversity and political savvy. Competencies that fell from the top 10 are the ability to build/influence coalitions, leading cross-cultural teams, and creativity.”
Among other findings:
• More organizations than previously are addressing global leadership development. In past survey years 31% of the respondents indicated their firms had some form of such programming. That proportion grew to 39% in this year’s findings.
• More than half of organizations (52%) standardize their program content for consistency but adjust it at the local level to reflect cultural or geographic nuances.
• Organizations have tempered their self-assessments of program effectiveness from prior years. This year the proportion rating their programs as “effective” dropped to 40%, down from 51% in 2012, 47% in 2011 and 42% in 2010.
“Without outstanding communication and collaboration skills and a keen understanding of a wide variety of cross-functional areas,” Edwards cautioned, “global leaders will find it increasingly difficult to forge the global partnerships needed to execute their corporate strategies.”
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In its fourth annual survey, AMA Enterprise partnered with the Institute for Corporate Productivity and Training magazine to track current trends in global leadership development. The study population consisted of primarily senior-level business, human resource and management professionals and was drawn from AMA and its global affiliates, i4cp’s global survey panel and subscribers to Training magazine. The survey population was 1,174, which included 455 who indicated that their organizations had a global leadership development program in place. Participants represented 37 industry sectors. A majority of the organizations represented in the survey are headquartered in North America.
With more than 90 years’ experience and headquartered in New York, American Management Association is a global leader of comprehensive talent development. AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of AMA dedicated to building corporate and government learning and training solutions, transforms enterprise-wide talent to fuel innovation, high performance and optimal business results.
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