Be Ready: Senior Execs Weigh in on Five Trends

Whether you’re an emerging leader, a seasoned pro or a top exec, you’ll want to take note of five important business and leadership trends.

The five trends are based on results from The Center for Creative Leadership’s groundbreaking research on “The Changing Nature of Leadership,” and data collected from 247 senior executives who attended CCL’s Leadership at the Peak program from July 2006 to April 2007.

Trend No. 1: The Rise of Complex Challenges. Most executives (91 percent, in fact) believe the challenges that their organizations face are more complex than just five years ago. According to the executives, the top factors contributing to the increased complexity are: internal changes to an organization, market dynamics, a shortage of talent, and globalization. CCL’s Corey Criswell, one of the authors of the study, reflects that, “The combination of changes in market dynamics and a shortage of available talent create a tough environment. It appears that organizations and individuals will have to keep doing more with less while responding even faster to changes in their industry and economy.”

A Big Balancing Act: Local vs. Global

Imagine this scenario: A corporate vice-president and a regional director of sales are at odds. Both consider the other to be a savvy leader with solid business acumen. So what’s the problem?

Chances are the issue has to do with global expectations versus local expectations. Mike Kossler, of the Center for Creative Leadership, says that one of the biggest challenges for global leaders is managing the tension between the need to be globally consistent while taking into account local differentiation. In the example you just heard, the challenge is immense for both leaders. The corporate VP is responsible for the whole picture. He operates out of his home country and culture, but travels extensively to regional operations around the world. He relies on regional directors to implement the corporate strategy, but he isn’t immersed in the culture or the work the way his direct reports are.

The regional director has another set of challenges. In this case, he may feel that much of the corporate strategy breaks down or becomes extraordinarily complex when applied to his office. He is frustrated that the vice president can’t see that.

Are You Micromanaging Yourself?

The term micromanager is now so well known that it crops up in even the most casual of workplace conversations. Its popularity is no surprise, given that it’s a word you use to blame the other guy: “He’s such a micromanager” is tailor-made for whispered complaints around the water cooler or in the break room.

But micromanagement isn’t always inflicted by one person on another. You can easily be the unknowing victim of your own masochism. Self-micromanagement is hard to see, but it often impedes your ability to get things done, whether you’re working for yourself or with a team. There’s little incentive to recognize it because, after all, who are you going to complain to?