We all know the world is changing; many of us have begun our careers in the midst of the greatest recession to hit the world in nearly a century. The circumstances which propelled people to the top in our own and clients’ organisations no longer exist. Have you ever sent emails from the comfort of your bed or the beach? Managed a project across multiple countries without ever meeting those people? Thought you should pack your bags and leave for Asia? You have already experienced some of the six megatrends that are going to change how we all work by 2030.
So what are the six megatrends?
The days of expats from developed markets setting up shop abroad and dictating how things should be done are numbered. A visit to McDonald’s in Mumbai will find you tucking into a Maharaja MaC Meal rather than a Big Mac. Working and winning in other markets means local needs and wants have to be considered for your business and your clients to be successful.
Populations are ageing and stagnating in industrial nations, but in the developed world they are booming. Skills shortages are the result for industrial countries, while in developing economies the ‘brain drain’ is turning into a ‘brain cycle’ as migrants return home armed with new skills. Businesses and leaders everywhere will have to work hard to attract and develop a diverse, global pool of talent. Their approach will need to take into account age, gender and culture as never before. In the future, leaders are going to be working in more internationally diverse teams; you will need therefore to understand, lead, develop, integrate and motivate people from widely different backgrounds.
Growing scarcity of strategic resources such as water, metals and fossil fuels will cause price hikes and could trigger regional and global conflicts. Organisations that lower their eco-footprint are going to see benefits to their bottom lines. As leaders of organisations in the future, you are going to need outstanding thinking skills to balance financial success with environmental and social responsibility.
You probably didn’t grow up expecting a job for life. While you hopefully enjoy your job and find it fulfilling, you most likely want to be treated like an individual and feel that your unique contribution is recognised. With decreased job security offered, you are more likely to shift and change in your career as you go. As a leader of the future you are going to have to recognise this in your teams and focus on maintaining relationships with colleagues as they move through other organisations.
Nano, bio and information technologies and cognitive sciences are driving innovation and change across a huge range of industries. Remember just a few years ago when you were struck by a phone with a colour screen, now your phone is monitoring your sleep, energy consumption and keeping an eye on your every move. These rapidly changing technologies are going to spur the creation of new products and services. As a future leader you are going to have to be an advocate of visionary ideas, opening up collaborations and partnerships between businesses in a way that has never been seen before. You are going to have to influence without authority across functional and organisational boundaries.
You are probably always online and don’t find it strange, whether it’s answering emails at midnight or tweeting to the world about that great new restaurant you just visited. At the same time, you may have sat in frustration watching a ‘non-digital native’ unable to use a PowerPoint deck or technology effectively. The digital lifestyle allows the private and public to become blurred and for you as a future leader, to remotely manage your business and team through virtual channels or from a matrix organisational structure. While this is useful, you must remember the value of a face to face conversation. Leaders will also need to role-model and foster high levels of openness, integrity and sincerity to preserve corporate reputation in a more transparent world. For instance, be careful what you tweet – as we’ve seen in numerous recent media reports, it could be enough to tarnish your personal reputation or that of your organisation.
Are you ready to change, to be the leader that your organisations need you to be?
Leaders of the future will:
Collaborate across space, time and language with people with a fundamentally different world view
Understand what works for them might not work for others
Consider other facets of success than money
Maintain good relations with colleagues even when they leave a company
Think laterally about ‘next practice’, not ‘best practice’
Decide how and whether they split their public and private lives online.
By Matthew Beckford, Consultant at Hay Group
To learn more about how to become an effective leader, visit Hay Group’s Leadership 2030 or Best Companies for Leadership microsites where you will find a range of materials, videos and quizzes.