Monday, September 1, 2008

Global Leadership Challenges

Accelerating growth and globalization are forcing organizations to identify and nurture leaders who can operate effectively across the organization and, in many cases, across borders. Aging workforces in many countries increase the pressure, as a generation of senior leaders prepares to retire.

For some organizations, the key challenge is immediate: aligning current leadership with the business strategy. Other organizations struggle more with “bench strength” issues – finding and developing the leaders of the future. Many organizations face both of these leadership challenges, and almost all struggle with ensuring smooth leadership transitions.

The demands for growth and change have put HR leaders into a key role in ensuring their companies have right global leadership talent, in the right place at the right time. HR executives bear increasing responsibility for helping their organizations find and develop leaders who can move their companies forward – and then for helping those leaders to succeed. This responsibility is complicated by the fact that it’s often difficult to get a clear view into the future state of the business. Among the outstanding questions for HR executives:

How fast must they be prepared for change throughout the organization and change at the top?
What leadership skills are required for the future? How do they ensure that they hire, develop and retain the people with the right skills – intellectually, technologically and emotionally?
Should leaders be the same worldwide or should they have distinct talents and characteristics based on their location? Is there one leadership brand for a company or many?
How can they prepare the next generation of leaders, fast enough and well enough, to meet the company’s strategic goals?
How will they find the leaders who can work effectively in an ever more globalized environment?

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