Leaders can learn the skills needed to navigate the future world of work


OTTAWA, April 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Leaders are facing challenges from three powerful mega-trends-globalization, population aging and diversity, and technological innovation-that are transforming every element of the world of work. Individuals in leadership roles who want to ensure that their organizations successfully meet and overcome these forces must address two great challenges, according to a Conference Board of Canada report released today.

First, they themselves must have or develop the skills and understanding to lead their organizations through turbulent times. Second, they must recruit or develop the next generation of leaders and ensure that they have the full range of skills required to be successful in 2020 and beyond.

"The key for leaders in seizing the opportunities that result from workplace change is to have the vision and skills. The good news is that these skills can be developed," said Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Organizational Effectiveness and Learning.

Many Canadian organizations suffer from a lack of leadership talent. The problem will get worse as aging leaders and senior managers retire simultaneously from executive and management levels of organizations on a large scale-particularly in the public sector. Solving this problem will require a major investment of resources, yet many organizations do not have plans to fill the leadership gap.

Many of the core skills that leaders will require in 2020 - such as interpersonal and team-building skills - will not change much. Other skills that will be crucial in 2020 are relatively rare today.

For example, leaders will need to integrate visible minorities into every part of the workplace, including at the top. Leaders will also need to be "intrapreneurs" who can nurture and stimulate their staff to be innovative. This will require a strong set of innovation skills to lead the conception, development, and production of new processes, products, and services. Leaders will also need greater technology know-how and the capacity to function in international markets and organizations.

Navigating Through the Storm: Leaders and the World of Work in 2020 is the final report of a two-year Conference Board research project. The report identifies 10 trends that are transforming work, workplaces and workforces:

    1.  Intergenerational mixing is on the rise in workplaces, with baby
        boomers staying on longer and working with Generations X and Y.
    2.  Visible minorities will be on the verge of becoming the majority in
        urban workplaces.
    3.  We will all be linked to work, through technology, whether we want to
        be or not.
    4.  The line between workplace production and place of consumption will
        become blurred.
    5.  The office will be where we say it is.
    6.  Social media will be the community halls of the future, where work
        can be done collaboratively.
    7.  Real companies will have virtual locations and marketing will
        increasingly move online.
    8.  Management will be pushed down and out as organizations decentralize.
    9.  Contingent workers (including contractors, part-time, casual and
        seasonal workers) and volunteers will become unconditionally
    10. Teamwork will become a learned skill, not just a nice attitude.

The report presents a four-step process that is designed to help leaders navigate these changes confidently by providing them with a framework for thinking about workplace and workforce change and deciding on an appropriate course of action. The four steps are:

    -   understand trends;
    -   clarify implications for their organizations;
    -   identify needs and opportunities; and
    -   build and recruit the leadership skills needed in order to transform.

In addition, the report provides practical tools-Questions for Leaders, an Organizational Leadership Template, and a Personal Leadership Template-to help leaders assess their readiness to meet the challenges ahead and direct them to actions they can take to address them.

The report is available to Conference Board subscribers at www.e-library.ca.

SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

For further information: For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: (613) 526-3090 ext. 448, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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