Lack of senior-level support has emerged as the main obstacle impeding the implementation of global leadership development programs, according to an online survey of almost 400 senior managers and executives. The survey was conducted by AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of American Management Association that offers advisory services and tailored learning programs to organizations.
“While program complexity and cultural differences were noted by some survey respondents,” said Sandi Edwards, Senior Vice President for AMA Enterprise, “most cited a lack of executive support, which is problematic now that nearly all best-in-class organizations today need their leaders to think and act globally.”
What is the main obstacle you encounter in implementing global leadership programs?
Lack of executive support 39%
Complexity of the program 8%
Cultural differences 7%
According to Edwards, success increasingly means operating in a marketplace that is global no matter where the organization is headquartered. “Senior management is now pressed to find ways to improve performance and to do so with consistency and effectiveness across the globe. And this means that up-and-coming corporate leaders need to have a broader skill set, one that equips them to understand different cultures and deal with ambiguity.”
Organizations experiencing the greatest success with their global leadership initiatives tend to be those whose senior management is involved in the actual implementation of such programs, said Edwards. “Such commitment by the top management team is the most important factor according to survey participants, yet 49% reported that their senior leaders aren’t involved at all. Top management may also provide support by communicating about the program and by establishing its business results.”
Half the survey respondents reported that their programs had to be customized to a significant extent. “The global core competencies are certainly generally understood,” said Edwards. “But there are different regional leadership styles as well as cultural dimensions that have to be taken into account, so customization is common.”
The online survey was part of a global webinar conducted by AMA Enterprise in October 2011. Participants were primarily of senior-level business, human resources and management professional contacts drawn from the AMA database of contacts.
With more than 85 years’ experience and headquartered in New York, American Management Association (www.amanet.org) is a global leader of comprehensive talent development. AMA Enterprise, a specialized division of AMA dedicated to building corporate and government solutions, transforms enterprise-wide talent to fuel a culture of innovation, high performance and optimal business results.