Global Leadership Forecast


Global Forecast infograph

Post: Alison Adair

Date: September 15, 2015


This report, based on global research, will help you understand how talent programs impact leader readiness, know how prepared leaders drive financial success, and mitigate risks to program success.

The report is a joint effort between DDI (Development Dimensions International) and The Conference Board.


The report offers valuable insights into:

  • Skills today's leaders need to navigate in an uncertain environment
  • Benefits of gender diversity
  • Changing role of Human Resources
  • Challenges of identifying and retaining high-potential leaders
  • How talent programs impact leader readiness for critical challenges
  • How prepared leaders drive financial success and reduce risks to program success


Key Findings


Top four skills for today's leaders

The report identifies the top four skills that, when practiced effectively, had the greatest impact on leader preparedness and confidence for addressing the challenges of leading in a VUCA world (distinguished by its Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous nature).

  1. Managing and introducing change is the strongest predictor of a leader's confidence when faced with VUCA.
  2. Building consensus and commitment is critical for eliminating discord and misunderstanding.
  3. Inspiring others toward a challenging future vision happens when leaders are inspired themselves.
  4. Leading across generations forges a shared purpose despite diverse employee viewpoints and motivations.

Organizations whose leaders have high VUCA capability are 3.5 times more likely than organizations with low VUCA capability to have a strong leadership bench with VUCA capability linking to financial results.

The top 20% of organizations performing well financially are three times more likely to have VUCA-capable leaders as compared with the bottom 20%.

How effective leaders impact CEOs

To retain highly-engaged, high-performing employees, CEOs need effective leaders who can manage, coach, develop, and inspire multigenerational teams. Today's leaders must have skills that have the greatest impact on their preparedness and confidence. Leaders must be able to:

  • Retain and develop talent
  • Manage complexity
  • Introduce and lead change
  • Lead with integrity across generations
  • Build consensus and commitment
  • Have an entrepreneurial mind
  • Inspire others toward a challenging future vision

Improved leadership can have a positive impact on CEOs to:

  1. Anticipate and react to the nature and speed of change
  2. Act decisively without always having clear direction and certainty
  3. Navigate through complexity, chaos and confusion
  4. Maintain effectiveness despite constant surprises and a lack of predictability

How formal learning impacts organizations

Formal learning builds foundational leader competencies that can have wide-ranging benefits enabling job experiences to be easily converted into sustained, well-supported behaviour change. The leadership development methods cited by leaders as most effective are:

The leadership development methods infograph. 70% Development assignments60% Formal workshops, training courses, seminars52% Coaching from current manager43% Coaching from external coaches/mentors

Critical actions for success

  1. Establish or reinforce the case for prioritized, high-quality leadership development
  2. Measure the effectiveness of current talent programs with the focus on improving the leader experience
  3. Use analytics to continuously learn from historical trends and impending talent needs to determine where to focus and how to optimize talent programs