8 Trends for Leaders in 2015

Over the past year, I had the opportunity to interview a number of executives, managers, directors, and specialists to gain measured insight and share trending practices facing leaders in the New Year.

8 Trends for Leaders in 2015

These amazing thought leaders represent our schools, businesses, and agencies and span widely across geography, gender, and generation. I believe their straightforward responses will resonate appropriately to the challenges each of us faces in the transition of Becoming.

New Year’s Revolutions for Leaders

1. ROI

Organizational leaders are seeking the “magic bullet” to maximize effectiveness and efficiency with the most aerodynamic payback.

2. Organizational Clarity

Improvement goals, strategies, values, and the clearly embraced and communicated trajectory of vision are universal pain points for leaders. Most of the leaders express a void in developing a comprehensive plan to monitor and measure alignment across the organization.

3. Complexity

As organizations navigate through acquisition, expansion, rebranding, and more precise marketing, complexity and alignment issues escalate. Existing business and marketing plans become obsolete and the time (that no one has) becomes the investment needed to reinvent and reestablish stronger business foundations.

4. Leadership Transition

How many new leaders have arrived within your workspaces over the last couple years? New leaders bring new visions, new challenge, and new approaches to solve problems and build team. These fresh faces also have a narrow window of time to reach institutional competence in terms of institutional DNA and vision. As much of a benefit new blood can bring to the system, it also transports cultures from previously held positions that often collide within the existing culture of the corporations they arrive to lead. This culture clash is endemic and an unavoidable reality to organizational growth. This dynamic must be managed effectively and urgently in order to maintain health and focus across the system.

5. Millennial Crowd

While the Boomers and Gen X-ers are tugging for power and position; the millennial generation is quietly creeping into the center of our organizational structures and cultures. The collision of this crowded power dynamic is just beginning to come into focus. . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the millennial generation will become the majority of the workforce in 2015. Harnessing this talent within the organization’s strategic alignment will be the tiebreaker between those simply managing organizational performance and those thriving forward.

6. Consumer Knowledge

Noted above…Due to the influx of generational difference, many leaders are nearing failure due to the “I know my customer syndrome.” The decision makers are no longer located in the C suites and adorned with years of experience. The flattening of organizational structure has rapidly shifted the power base to an unrecognizable reality. Having “real time” understanding of consumer need takes more than intuition and experience. A highly sophisticated and focused data field is the new face of the customer. Research, development, and global acumen will become the trifecta for mining new business. Consumer centric business will frazzle the weak and propel the front forward thinkers toward sustainable consumer satisfaction.

7. Alignment of Sales and Marketing

This special sub-set of issues is more refined and quite persistent to the aforementioned challenge of organizational clarity. The continuing disconnect between sales cultures, marketing strategy and overall organizational vision are trending as concerning across the universe of leaders. Coupling the competitive drive of sales and marketing teams jointly and complementary to the well being of the organization will be a difference maker for success.

8. Storied Confusion – Lucky or Becoming

Each of the influencers interviewed had unique and profound stories quite telling of their personal leadership drive, however most struggled to consistently share the organization’s success pathway in a way that was equally compelling.

Organizational leaders affect success across varied scales of performance. Some are excelling; others are not. In large part, leaders are quick to point to measured performance but pause to guestimate the primary impacting factors at play for high, mid, and low performance. Douglas Reeves, founder of the Leadership and Learning Center is the architect behind the Lucky or Leading Framework that illustrates when high results are evident, effectiveness is assumed; if one has low results, ineffectiveness is presumed or so goes the conventional wisdom. However, such a superficial analysis does not distinguish between those who achieved high results through the fortune of luck from those who achieved from a well-thought and executed operational plan.

Leading the Change Revolution

Of all of the factors explicitly noted above, the most universally convincing was staying upright and maintaining traction while managing forward momentum “from the board room to the boiler room” of organizational life. Most of those interviewed indicated a reflexive tendency to change rather than a well-planned long-range strategic position.

  1. Of the eight trending challenges of Becoming listed above, which 3 are most clear to you?
  2. How much control do you have in reshaping the factors and conditions for better success in 2015?
  3. What obstacles will need to be cleared to give you better efficiency and effectiveness in guiding change?
  4. Will your success in the New Year be elevated by the development of organizational IQ or EQ?
  5. How can we help?

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