Global Leadership Trends



AESC’s Leaders on Leaders podcast explores top trends impacting global leadership. Karen Greenbaum, AESC President and CEO, speaks with leaders from the world’s top executive search and leadership advisory firms.

In our latest episode, Karen speaks with Mickey Matthews, Global Chair of Stanton Chase, and discusses global leadership trends and what it takes for a company to achieve sustainability and success.

Below is a brief excerpt.

KAREN: Why don’t we begin our discussion today about global trends that you’re seeing in today’s dynamic and ever-changing world?

MICKEY: Globally, from a trend perspective, we continue to see evidence of geopolitical protectionism and some continued hints of heightened nationalism that is driving some very exclusionary political immigration and trade policies. In our view, this is not only highly counter-productive to the people and wealth of these nations but it’s a significant dichotomy, fortunately, from trends we see occurring in global business. As leaders of industry, we’re witnessing positively the opposite of this isolationism and instead are pleased to see borders dropping, a trend towards multiculturalism and, while it’s taking a little bit more time to gain full traction, real progress toward diversity and increased inclusion.

KAREN: Mickey, what does that mean for companies whose goal is to achieve sustainable or even breakthrough success?

MICKEY: To be a global leader, and to achieve sustainability and success, companies must recognize these trends, must look around the corner, anticipating these and other directional headings and proactively deal with ambiguity, change and the constant threats that are coming from known and unknown sources every day. The successful companies we see today are those that are innovative in their systems, processes and products, are agile in their actions, investment and decision-making, and are collaborative across countries, divisions, and functions. Karen, the best performing companies we track tend to be globally strategic but can currently have excellence in execution, being locally focused to deliver what the market needs with precision.

KAREN: What role does our profession play as trusted advisors to these businesses, executives, and leaders worldwide?

MICKEY: Above all, we do have to realize that we are indeed role models and our behaviors will cascade throughout the global business community, across industry, across cultures, and across functions worldwide. The impact we have and can have is significant. We must realize that trust and treat it with a dignity and respect it deserves.

Companies worldwide have recognized that their competitive advantage and differentiator comes through their people. And Karen, through our consulting, our diversity of solutions, and the services we provide in executive search and the human capital and leadership space, we are positioned at a positive inflection point to guide the course of business worldwide. We must ourselves continue to embrace diversity, challenge older, existing ways of doing things and operate with speed, transparency and above all, purpose.

KAREN:Companies and their leaders want to stay ahead of the trends. With that in mind, what are some of the future trends that you think we should be mindful of?

MICKEY: Workforce values are changing with the influx of millennials, and as they now move into leadership roles, this will only accelerate. While at the same time, technology is redefining processes in every business globally whether larger or small and whether in manufacturing or services. These two forces have an impact everywhere around the world while borders continue to drop economically again in contrast to many of the geopolitical trends. Everyone has a case study but as an example, just this past week at Stanton Chase, we closed a search for a US headquartered Fortune 50 company seeking an executive for a significant joint venture in Japan based in Tokyo and we found that executive in Switzerland who is a UK citizen.

This will happen more and more and companies and leaders must be multi-culturally sensitive and recognize that as Friedman said, "The world is flat at least economically."

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