Only 15% of executives believe their companies' top leadership will succeed | Fin24
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Only 15% of executives believe their companies' top leadership will succeed

Mar 16 2020 22:37

Only 15% of business executives worldwide have confidence in their own top leadership successfully to manage disruption - including unexpected events like pandemics, technological advances, shifting demographics, and climate change, a global analysis by the international executive search firm Odgers Berndtson reveals.

This lack of confidence is striking since 95% of executives also believe that managing disruption well is now critical for companies to succeed in turbulent times. Odgers Berndtson concludes that successful companies will "reinvent leadership" for the modern world.

"As the quality of leadership in the modern business environment comes into question, the topics of succession planning and leadership diversity should be top of mind for businesses. Having strong succession plans in place, especially at a board level, is critical to empowering emerging leaders and achieving the diversity necessary for business success," says Lauren van Halderen, joint managing director at Odgers Berndtson South Africa.

"While many South African businesses do have succession planning strategies in place, there needs to be a larger focus on diversity at an executive level. In 2017 it was reported that only 19.1% of JSE-listed companies have female directorship on their boards, and in 2018 concerns arose around only five of the JSE top 40 CEOs being black. It is imperative that as a country we work to improve these numbers, as diversified boards could lead to better confidence in leadership in the future."


The Index also identifies what qualities and attributes in top people companies need most to thrive in changing times. In its report, Odgers Berndtson notes that 88% of senior managers and executives expect disruption to increase over the next five years, and almost as many (85%) say it has already had an impact on their organisations.  

Only 16% of senior managers believe their company's top leadership has managed disruption well to date, and only 15% are confident they will do well in future. The majority (61%) are tentative but a quarter (24%) actively worried – with similar results across all global regions.

This crisis of confidence appears most stark when it comes to individual roles and leaders, notably chief executives. While 85% of respondents believe the CEO has the most critical role to play, 40% express doubts that the person in the top role will manage disruption well over the next five years.

The Index shows confidence is also lacking in all C-suite roles – including key top jobs such as finance, human resources and technology – and that there are clear differences between the top 15% of leaders, who inspire the most confidence, and the rest.

business  |  leadership


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