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Changing times demand change in competencies

Mar 04. 2012
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By Pichaya Changsorn
The Nation

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Hay Group highlights six trends that will have wide-ranging impact in next two decades

Global management consultancy Hay Group has identified the six most significant trends that it believes will affect organisations, employees and managers over the next two decades, and the key competencies required of successful future leaders.

The report titled “Leadership 2030” examines six global trends – accelerating globalisation or “globalisation 2.0”; climate change; demographic shifts; increasing digital lifestyles; individualisation and values pluralism; and technological convergences – and their impact on leadership and organisations. Hay Group’s findings on four of these major shifts, and the ways they are changing the competencies required of successful leaders, are:

-Globalisation 2.0

As globalisation accelerates, the new business world will be characterised by increasingly diverse teams and declining loyalty between organisations and employees. The balance of power will shift to Asia, a global middle class will rise, and greater interconnectedness will result in greater volatility in the economic markets.

Leadership impact: Companies will need to be more agile and collaborative to manage the global/local divide; their leaders will need to be flexible, internationally mobile and culturally sensitive, and they must have strong conceptual and strategic thinking capabilities to manage risk and cope with the dangers and uncertainties associated with globalisation.

-Climate change

Rising emissions and temperatures will be aggravated by growing residential and industrial waste in developing nations. The scarcity of such strategic resources as water, minerals and fossil fuels could trigger price rises and violent conflict.

Leadership impact: Organisations will be forced to lower their eco-footprint, adapt to rising operational costs, and restructure along sustainable lines; leaders will need outstanding cognitive skills to balance the competing demands of financial success, social responsibility and environmental custodianship, and will have to act as change agents, advocating environmentally responsible business practices.

-Demographic shifts

As the world population grows and ages, demographic imbalances are emerging, leading to skills shortages in some areas and increasing migration.

Leadership impact: For organisations, the war for talent will continue to rage; leaders will need to attract, motivate and retain increasingly diverse teams and find ways to develop and promote the growing numbers of international migrants, women and older people into leadership positions.

-Digital lifestyle and work

Technology will continue to blur the boundaries between private and work lives, will broaden generational divides, and will shift power to employees with extensive digital skills – particularly the rising class of “knowledge workers”, who can work anywhere.

Leadership impact: As organisations become increasingly virtual, leaders must recognise and harness the critical skills of digital natives, foster collaboration between them and traditional workers, and encourage high levels of openness, integrity and sincerity to build reputation in a more transparent world.

Thanwa Chulajata, reward information services country manager of Hay Group, said that according to a recent study, Thai companies were ranked in the world’s top-five countries for the highest gulf in the salaries of top executives and operational staff. This is because senior Thai executives possess a set of skills that allow them to work internationally, while low-level staff are only able to work in the country, he said.

Surprisingly, Thanwa said, research conducted last year by Hay Group revealed that Thai business leaders were in the top-five ranking as having the best self-awareness among leaders from other countries around the globe.

Self-awareness forms an important part of the emotional intelligence considered a crucial element of good leadership in today’s working environment where a good level of technical knowledge and intellectual ability is taken for granted. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is becoming the differentiator for great leadership and professionalism.

“Because we are now living in the so-called post-heroic leadership age, successful leaders are the ones who can collaborate and work effectively with other people,” he said. “Hence leaders have to be capable of managing their emotions and behaviours, being patient, flexible ... Some have compared it to driving a car: [Leaders must] know when to shift gears to slow down or accelerate.”

Organisations that have leaders with emotional capabilities who are sensitive to their teams’ spirit usually outperform their competitors, as leaders’ emotional intelligence sets the organisational climate and the level of engagement and devotion of staff who determine the productivity and performance of the organisation, Thanwa said.

Hay Group will hold its annual executive forum on March 16, featuring the consultancy’s latest reports on reward trends, and “Best Company Leadership: Methodology and Results”. Guest speakers will include Chokchai Panyayong, executive vice president of Thai Airways Inter-national, who will speak on “Cultural Change Management towards Asean Economic Community”, and Sethaput Suthiwart-Narueput, managing partner of The Advisor Company, who will provide insight on the macroeconomic outlook.


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