IN TOUCH : Stark leadership insights

One of the world’s most comprehensive studies of leadership and leadership development will show whether confidence in our business leaders is continuing to slide.
NZ Management magazine has joined forces with global HR consultancy Development Dimensions International (DDI) to present the 2010/2011 DDI Global Leadership Forecast which will have its own New Zealand and Australian section.
Christien Winter, director of Sheffield, which is the exclusive licensee for DDI in New Zealand, says the comprehensive survey will point the way to best practice in leadership development and management innovation. It builds on significant trend data and findings from five previous bi-annual DDI Leadership Forecast studies.
The 2008/09 survey had more than 14,000 leaders and HR professionals participate across 76 countries and provided some stark and sobering insights on leadership practices and trends, says Winter.
“The 2008/09 survey identified dilemma for leaders the world over. On the one hand, 75 percent said that improving or leveraging talent was their top priority. But on the other, less than half the leaders in the survey said they were satisfied with development opportunities they were provided with.”
A concerning outcome of this lack of quality development programmes is that the crucial transition from one level of leadership to the next is too often failure, Winter says. DDI’s research shows many people who move into strategic roles aren’t prepared for the changes and demands involved.
“As people move into more complex strategic roles, they’re no longer leading teams, they’re leading leaders so this requires real shift – not only in how they need to think about the organisation and its requirements, but also in how they execute their responsibilities. The competencies for success shift and change. Organisations that enable staff to transition seamlessly spend lot of time preparing them.”
Successive DDI surveys have also shown that confidence in leaders has been steadily declining over the past decade. This is worrying self-reported trend, suggesting that leaders are not meeting the current and future
anticipated needs of their organisations, says Winter. It is of particular concern in New Zealand where leadership talent shortages continue to be an issue.
“Has the recession finally provided the impetus for organisations to review the effectiveness of their development offerings, and make meaningful change? We hope the answer will be ‘yes’, but we have our doubts,” Winter says.
“Organisations continue to demonstrate reluctance to build learning culture – despite all the evidence that shows that businesses that endure are those that learn and continuously evolve.”
Winter believes that with the economy at low point, organisations must innovate and reinvent themselves. Understanding the best ways to do this will be key aspect of the 2010/11 Leadership Forecast.
DDI has partnered with US professor Gary Hamel, specialist in management innovation, to include an innovation section that will explore systems and processes that differentiate traditional from progressive cultures.

See also: What New Zealand needs from its leaders, page 30.

Participate now
The research phase of the DDI Global leadership Forecast is now underway.
As the exclusive licensee for DDI in New Zealand, Sheffield and New Zealand research partner, NZ Management magazine, encourage you to participate, and help make an impact on leadership thinking and future development. All levels of managers working in organisations with more 50 employees are invited to participate in the survey.
The extensive global report and Australasian regional reports will be available for all New Zealand participants. In addition, participants can receive customised organisational benchmark report when more than 30 leaders participate from their organisation. This report will provide an overview of how your organisation’s HR and leadership practices stack up against global findings.  
To participate in the survey visit”

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