In Leadership 2030, Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell provide a road map of the broad trends that are reshaping markets, cultures, and companies. Based on research with the Hay Group, a global management consultancy, they offer insights into six megatrends: the shift of economic power to Asia, the escalating war for talent, environmental crisis, eroding customer and employee loyalty, the melding of private and working lives, and technological convergence. The authors show how these self-reinforcing trends demand enlightened leadership with the skills to engage an ever-widening circle of stakeholders. Gone are the days of the egocentric, alpha-male leadership. To survive the megatrend storm leaders will have to provide workers with greater autonomy while finding ways to respond to the unique needs of every customer.
The authors explain that there are six big changes are afoot that will reshape the demands of leadership going forward. Ranging from evolving cultural attitudes to environmental degradation, these “megatrends” will eliminate leaders who fail to adapt.
1. Globalization in the future will be more about power shifting to Asia than it has been in the past. The growing middle class in many developing nations will create new opportunities, but also challenges as multinationals try to serve highly localized markets.
2. Climate change will drive resource scarcity, forcing leaders to fundamentally rethink their operations.
3. Rising affluence will drive demand for customized products. Just as consumers seek out more individualized experiences, so too will employees whose work need not be restricted by time and place.
4. The digital era will shift power to consumers and workers, away from traditional management structures. Already, the digital world is blurring the line between personal and professional lives, while increasing organizational transparency.
5. The aging population will shrink the workforce and require leaders to cope with intergenerational workplaces.
6. Several cutting-edge technologies will converge to open new markets. Nanotechnology and biotechnology especially will challenge leadership to invest in R&D programs and to respond effectively to societal worries.
Traditional, alpha-male leadership is ill suited to this new era. Instead, leaders should focus on becoming more “altrocentric,” empowering others as a way to empower themselves and their organizations. Developing altrocentric leadership begins by leaders asking themselves questions about style and goals. Are they:
• Truly open and curious?
• Able to engage colleagues in making meaning rather than simply presenting one-way narratives?
• Providers of bounded autonomy?
• Creators of loyalty and managers of the organization’s reputation?
• Willing to collaborate with partners inside and outside of the company?