Are Your Leaders Ready For What’s Coming?

According to a new study (2014 Trends in Executive Development: A Benchmark Report) the most successful organizations in the coming years will be ones with leaders who can create a compelling vision and convey it to customers and employees.

The study asked a wide range of executives ranging from presidents to human resource and leadership development executives what they saw as the most important skill that the next generation of leaders needed to have. They answered; ‘the ability to create a vision— and convey it to others.’

For the first time ‘vision’ has surpassed critical thinking significantly and vision and engaging others rose from third place in the 2009 Trends Report to second place in 2011 and is now topping the list of requirements. However, the respondents expressed concern that their existing leaders aren’t ready to assume more senior roles because it’s this ability to create visions and engage others that they’re lacking most.

The report states that “many baby boomers who delayed retirement are now leaving, fulfilling long-standing predictions of an alarmingly limited flow in the executive pipeline. Many current executives acknowledge they have not yet prepared their successors, often because it is difficult to find candidates with expertise in the necessary specialties. … During the recession, companies needed to focus on cutting costs and increasing revenue in an increasingly competitive global business environment. As the economy improves, companies are focusing less on cutting costs and more on expanding production …which require an inspired and engaged workforce.”

Realities such as cost cutting, lay offs, under employment, 24 hour connectivity and the recession have all contributed to an all time low for employee loyalty. Many young workers don’t expect to live out a career with one organization and often take employment expecting or intending to leave in only a few years. However, people also want to work for organizations with views that they share in common and employers should seek to source and retain workers by meeting this need.

The need to have leaders find cost savings and increase revenue in the past has allowed their skills to lead and inspire to remain undeveloped or to atrophy. The coming generation of leaders lacks this critical ability to inspire and engage. Now such skills are badly needed but many young leaders cannot deliver.

This coming trend will require savvy organizations to look toward the immediate near future and ensure that those whom they hire or promote have the skills, aptitudes and attitudes that will guarantee success. Luckily for employers, there is a wide range of excellent, revealing assessment products designed to help organizations and their employees identify strengths and weaknesses and by doing so, begin to make measurable changes.

Tools exist to help improve skills, team working ability, develop new and existing skills, as well as, 360-degree assessments can offer real benefits to employees and their employers. Some, like the Leadership Skills Profile, offers reporting options that include a Selection Report, Development Report and a Focus Report. The Focus Report provides a balanced set of 10 Personal Strengths and 10 Development Opportunities derived from scores on 42 LSP competencies and is augmented by the companion LSP Development Guide. Other tools exist to help assess a candidate’s readiness to assume managerial roles or assess the skills and training needs of incumbents.

In addition to managerial and leadership tools, Creative Organizational Design carries 100’s of assessments to help employers hire, groom and develop individuals and teams. If your organization is seeking ways to identify where development resources can best be applied, we are available to help you source the products and solutions that you require.

How to Obtain This Research

Copies of the full industry report are available for purchase at

Executive Development Associates is a leader in creating custom-designed executive strategic objective development strategies, systems and programs. Pearson TalentLens publishes scientific assessments that are used globally to hire and develop the 21st century workforce.

David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design. We carry 100’s of employee assessment products and specialize in conducting customized surveys of employees, customers and organizations. For more information call (519) 745-0142 or visit us at

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