Odgers Berndtson study finds global concerns about managemerial talent

March 12, 2020
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The vast majority of managers worldwide doubt that their management can successfully navigate and manage disruptions caused by new technology, demographic shifts, climate change, or unexpected events - such as pandemics. Concurrently, 95% of managers believe that skillful professional management during disruptive changes is crucial for company success. 

These insights are the result of the global "Odgers Berndtson Leadership Confidence Index", which the international personnel consultancy has recently developed with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

For the Odgers Berndtson Leadership Confidence Index, information from around 2,000 executives, managers, and board members, and hailing from companies worldwide with sales of between $50 million and $5 billion, were evaluated. The new index measures the trust of managers in the competence of their management based on 44 different management criteria.

According to the study conducted by Odgers Berndtson together with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS), only 16% of executives believe that their management has managed to cope well with disruptions so far, and only 15% are confident that they too will obtain mastery in the future. The majority of managers (61%) are rather skeptical here, and around a quarter (24%) are even very concerned. The trust values ​​for the regions examined worldwide - North America, Europe, Asia, rest of the world - are likewise similarly low.

"The results are alarming," says Dr. Marco Henry V. Neumueller, Associate Partner of Odgers Berndtson. “With 85 percent of managers who have doubts about their employer's ability to innovate and be future-proof, the study shows a global crisis of confidence. Companies must take this crisis seriously and redefine their leadership skills. Otherwise, they run the risk that top performers who urgently need them to successfully manage change will migrate.”

The low level of trust that executives place in their own management is in stark contrast to the high importance that managers attach to corporate management in the digital transformation: 95% of managers worldwide believe that professional management of disruptive changes is a key factor in the success of a company and creates a recognizable competitive advantage. This is all the more important because the lifespan of top companies is getting shorter and shorter - for example, in the United States, experts predict that half of the current Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist in the next decade.

The crisis of confidence appears particularly evident in relation to individual positions and roles, especially those of corporate management. For example, 85% of managers believe that the CEO plays the most important role. However, 40% of those questioned doubt that the current person in this role will successfully manage the upcoming challenges and disruptions in the next five years. 

"The inconvenient truth for some CEOs is that a good track record in the past few years does not necessarily mean being able to successfully deal with disruptions in the future," commented Neumueller.

The Leadership Confidence Index also shows that there is a lack of trust in all C-level roles - including finance, human resources, and technology - and that there are clear differences between the top 15% of the most trusted managers and the other executives. Companies with high trust values ​​rate the management skills of their company management significantly more positively than companies with low trust values.

"The quality of good managers is more important today than ever," said Daniel Nerlich, Managing Director of Odgers Berndtson Germany, summarizing the results. "In today's world of uncertainty and complexity, leaders need to be able to evolve to run businesses successfully. They also need to be open and curious, develop a clear vision, and have the courage to implement it - and ultimately, that too Have the ability to take their top performers and employees with them, ”says Nerlich.

March 12, 2020

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