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Copyright 2023 The views expressed in the articles within CEO Today are the contributors’ own. Images used in this edition have been done so under the creative commons licenses. EDITORS NOTE Dear Readers, As we welcome you to this month’s edition of CEO Today, we continue our commitment to bringing you a wealth of knowledge and insights catered to empower leaders in navigating the multifaceted landscape of today’s global business. Rising Geopolitical Tensions: A Strategic Forefront for CEOs Our front cover feature this month addresses the escalating geopolitical tensions and their inherent risks to global operations. This comprehensive article delves into the strategies and adaptations CEOs must consider, offering insights and actionable guidelines to navigate the ever-evolving international business landscape and safeguard organisational interests. Generative AI: A CEO’s New Frontier Generative AI has emerged as a game-changer in a world dominated by digital transformation. Our feature article demystifies its applications and implications for CEOs, demonstrating how leveraging this innovative technology can drive organisational growth, enhance decision-making, and create unparalleled competitive advantages. Travel & Lifestyle: Hotel Café Royal, London Indulge in our Travel & Lifestyle section as we transport you to the iconic Hotel Café Royal in London. Discover the majestic blend of history, luxury, and modernity, and explore why this establishment continues to be a favoured retreat for the discerning traveller. Leadership Perspectives: We are privileged to present an exclusive article from Hazel Barlow of Hazel Barlow Coaching, New Zealand. Drawing upon her extensive experience in leadership development, Hazel explores the various facets of leadership roles and provides an in-depth understanding of distinct perspectives. In this edition, we aim to provoke thought, inspire action, and provide the tools necessary for you to continue steering your organisations towards success despite the challenges that arise. We hope you find the insights and narratives within these pages both enriching and enlightening as you continue your journey of leadership and innovation. Thank you for allowing CEO Today to be your companion on this journey. Mark Palmer Editor Best wishes,
CUMBERSOME SYSTEMS AND LACK OF DATA SHARING IS HOLDING UK FINANCE DECISION-MAKERS BACK AMAZON ANNOUNCES FIVE GENERATIVE AI INNOVATIONS
As of Oc t obe r 2022 , there are 5.5 million p r i va t e s e c t o r businesses ( down 1.5% or 82 , 000 from the p r ev i ou s ye a r ) .
Understanding Geopolitical Tensions Geopolitical tensions are a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that has a profound impact on the global stage. To fully comprehend the intricacies of these tensions, it is essential to delve into the definition of geopolitics and the current state of global politics. Definition of Geopolitics Geopolitics refers to the study of how geography, economics, and politics are interconnected on a global scale. It encompasses the analysis of the relationships between nations and the distribution of power in the international In today’s interconnected world, the impact of geopolitical tensions on business has become a major concern. As political dynamics shift and tensions rise between nations, the implications for global businesses are significant. This article aims to explore the various aspects of rising geopolitical tensions and their potential risks for businesses worldwide. Understanding the nature of these tensions, examining their effects on the global economy, studying case studies of their impact on businesses, and exploring strategies for navigating these risks are crucial to thriving in an increasingly uncertain world. Understanding the Business Impact: How Rising Geopolitical Tensions Pose a Risk to Global Operations
arena. By examining the geopolitical landscape, experts can gain insights into the factors that shape the behaviour of nations and the dynamics of their interactions. Geopolitical tensions arise from a myriad of factors, including conflicts of interest, differing ideologies, and power struggles between countries. These tensions can disrupt global stability and have far-reaching consequences for both regional and international security. The Current State of Global Politics The global political landscape is in a constant state of flux, with tensions between nations on the rise. A multitude of factors contribute to the current state of global politics, including conflicts over resources, territorial disputes, ideological differences, and geopolitical rivalries. One of the primary drivers of geopolitical tensions is the competition for finite resources. As nations strive to secure access to vital resources such as oil, gas, and minerals, conflicts and rivalries emerge. These resource-driven tensions often result in proxy wars and geopolitical manoeuvrings, further complicating the global political landscape. Additionally, territorial disputes continue to fuel geopolitical tensions, such as is happening in Ukraine. Conflicting territorial claims over regions such as the South China Sea, Kashmir, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have the potential to escalate into full-blown conflicts, impacting not only the nations involved but also regional stability. Ideological differences also play a significant role in shaping geopolitical tensions. The clash of ideologies, such as democracy versus authoritarianism, capitalism versus socialism, and religious fundamentalism versus secularism, can create deep divisions between nations and lead to conflicts and power struggles. Furthermore, geopolitical rivalries between major powers further exacerbate global tensions. The United States, China, and Russia, among others, are engaged in strategic competitions to expand their influence and secure their national interests. These rivalries often manifest in economic, military, and diplomatic spheres, contributing to an environment of uncertainty and heightened tensions. In conclusion, geopolitics and its associated tensions are a complex web of interconnections between geography, economics, and politics. Understanding the definition of geopolitics and the current state of global politics is crucial for comprehending the multifaceted nature of these tensions. By delving deeper into the factors that drive geopolitical tensions, we can gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the ever-evolving global landscape. The Impact of Geopolitical Tensions on Global Economy Geopolitical tensions have become a crucial factor affecting the global economy. As countries engage in disputes over trade policies, tariffs, and economic sanctions, the repercussions can be felt throughout various sectors. One of the most significant areas affected by these tensions is international trade. Effects on International Trade Geopolitical tensions can have a profound impact on international trade. Disputes over trade policies, tariffs, and economic sanctions can disrupt supply chains and hinder the flow of goods and services. As tensions rise, countries may impose restrictions or increase tariffs on imported goods, making it more expensive for businesses to trade internationally. These barriers can lead to decreased market access and profitability for companies heavily reliant on international trade. Moreover, geopolitical tensions can create an atmosphere of uncertainty, making it difficult for businesses to make long-term investment decisions. The fear of sudden policy changes or trade disruptions can deter companies from expanding their operations or entering new markets, further hindering global economic growth. Influence on Currency and Stock Markets Geopolitical tensions also have a significant impact on currency and stock markets. Uncertainty surrounding geopolitical events can cause currency volatility and fluctuations in stock prices. Investors and businesses engaged in foreign exchange transactions or stock trading face increased risks of financial losses due to market instability
and investor sentiment influenced by geopolitical developments. For example, when tensions between two countries escalate, investors may lose confidence in the affected countries’ currencies, leading to depreciation. This depreciation can have a domino effect, affecting other currencies and creating a ripple effect throughout the global financial system. Similarly, stock markets can experience sharp declines as investors react to geopolitical uncertainties, causing market volatility and potentially leading to economic downturns. Furthermore, geopolitical tensions can also impact investor confidence, which is essential for economic stability. Investors may become cautious and adopt a wait-and-see approach, delaying investment decisions until the geopolitical situation stabilizes. This uncertainty can hinder economic growth and impede the recovery of financial markets. In conclusion, the impact of geopolitical tensions on the global economy is far-reaching. From disrupting international trade to influencing currency and stock markets, these tensions create an environment of uncertainty and risk. As countries navigate through these challenges, finding diplomatic solutions and fostering cooperation becomes crucial for maintaining global economic stability and growth. Case Studies of Geopolitical Tensions Impacting Business The US-China Trade War The US-China trade war is a prime example of how geopolitical tensions can disrupt businesses. Tariffs, trade restrictions, and market uncertainties have led to increased costs, disrupted supply chains, and decreased investment confidence. Both American and Chinese businesses have faced challenges in navigating this trade war, highlighting the detrimental impact of geopolitical tensions on business operations. One of the major consequences of the US-China trade war is the rise in costs for businesses on both sides. As tariffs are imposed on imports, companies have to bear the additional expenses, which ultimately affect their profitability. Moreover, the trade restrictions imposed by both countries have disrupted supply chains, leading to delays in production and delivery of goods. Another significant impact of the trade war is the decrease in investment confidence. With the uncertainty surrounding the trade relationship between the two largest economies in the world, businesses are hesitant to make long-term investment decisions. This lack of confidence has a ripple effect on various sectors, including manufacturing, technology, and agriculture. Furthermore, the US-China trade war has highlighted the interdependence of global markets. As the two economic giants engage in a tariff battle, it has a spillover effect on other countries and regions. For instance, countries that heavily rely on exports to China or the United States have experienced a decline in demand for their products, affecting their own businesses and economies. Brexit and its Impact on European Businesses Brexit, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, has had far-reaching consequences for businesses in Europe. Uncertainty surrounding trade agreements, regulatory frameworks, and market access has disrupted business operations and investment decisions. European companies have had to adapt their strategies to mitigate the risks posed by this geopolitical event. One of the immediate impacts of Brexit on European businesses is the uncertainty surrounding trade agreements. With the UK no longer being part of the EU, companies are unsure about the terms under which they can trade with the UK. This uncertainty has led to delays in decision-making and investment, as businesses wait for more clarity on future trade relationships. Regulatory frameworks have also been affected by Brexit. European businesses that previously operated
under EU regulations now face the challenge of complying with new UK regulations. This transition has required companies to allocate resources for legal and regulatory compliance, adding to their operational costs. Market access is another area where Brexit has had a significant impact. European businesses that heavily relied on the UK market for their products or services now face the risk of losing access or facing barriers to entry. This has forced companies to explore new markets and diversify their customer base to mitigate the potential negative effects of Brexit. In conclusion, both the US-China trade war and Brexit serve as case studies illustrating how geopolitical tensions can disrupt businesses. From increased costs and disrupted supply chains to decreased investment confidence and uncertainty surrounding trade agreements, these geopolitical events have had far-reaching consequences for companies operating in these regions. Navigating such challenges requires adaptability and strategic decision-making to mitigate risks and ensure business continuity. How Businesses Can Navigate Geopolitical Risks Geopolitical risks have become a pressing concern for businesses operating in today’s interconnected world. As global tensions rise, businesses must navigate through a complex web of political stability, regulatory changes, and trade policies. Proactive risk management is essential to anticipate potential challenges and develop robust strategies to mitigate these risks. Importance of Risk Management in Business Risk management plays a pivotal role in the success and sustainability of businesses. It involves identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks that could impact the organization’s objectives. Geopolitical risks, in particular, have the potential to cause significant disruptions and financial losses. By understanding and analysing these risks, businesses can effectively plan and allocate resources to minimize their negative impact. Political stability is a crucial aspect of geopolitical risk management. Businesses must closely monitor the political landscape of the countries they operate in or have business interests. Unstable political environments can lead to sudden policy changes, social unrest, or even conflicts, which can severely impact business operations. By staying informed and engaging in political risk analysis, businesses can make informed decisions and adapt their strategies accordingly. Regulatory changes are another significant geopolitical risk that businesses must navigate. Governments around the world frequently introduce new regulations or amend existing ones, impacting various industries. These changes can affect market access, import/export policies, taxation, and compliance requirements. By actively monitoring regulatory developments and maintaining strong relationships with local authorities, businesses can proactively adapt to these changes and ensure compliance. Trade policies and international relations also pose significant geopolitical risks. Tariffs, trade disputes, and sanctions can disrupt supply chains, increase costs, and limit market access. Businesses must diversify their supply chains and reduce dependency on high-risk regions to mitigate these risks. By identifying alternative suppliers and exploring new markets, businesses can minimize the impact of trade policy changes on their operations. Strategies for Mitigating Geopolitical Risks Mitigating geopolitical risks requires a multi-faceted approach. Here are some strategies that businesses can adopt: 1. Diversifying supply chains: By reducing dependency on high-risk regions and diversifying suppliers, businesses can minimize the impact of geopolitical disruptions. This strategy involves identifying alternative suppliers in different geographic locations, ensuring continuity of
operations even in the face of political or trade-related challenges. 2. Closely monitoring geopolitical developments: Businesses must stay informed about geopolitical events and trends that could impact their operations. This includes monitoring political developments, regulatory changes, and trade policies. By establishing robust monitoring systems and leveraging external expertise, businesses can proactively identify potential risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. 3. Building strong relationships with local partners: Local partners, such as suppliers, distributors, or joint venture partners, can provide valuable insights and support during times of geopolitical uncertainty. By fostering strong relationships based on trust and open communication, businesses can navigate through challenges collaboratively and effectively. 4. Engaging in effective stakeholder communication: Geopolitical risks can impact various stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and local communities. Effective communication is essential to manage expectations, address concerns, and maintain trust. By proactively communicating with stakeholders and providing timely updates, businesses can minimize uncertainty and maintain confidence in their operations. 5. Developing contingency plans and conducting scenario analysis: Businesses should develop contingency plans to prepare for potential disruptions caused by geopolitical events. This involves identifying potential risks, assessing their potential impact, and developing strategies to mitigate them. Scenario analysis can help simulate different geopolitical scenarios and evaluate their potential consequences, enabling businesses to make informed decisions and take proactive measures. In conclusion, navigating geopolitical risks is a critical challenge for businesses in today’s globalized world. By incorporating geopolitical risk analysis into their overall risk management framework and adopting proactive strategies, businesses can effectively mitigate these risks and ensure their long-term success. Future Outlook: Predicting Geopolitical Shifts The Role of International Relations in Business Forecasting Understanding the interplay between international relations and business forecasting is essential for anticipating geopolitical shifts. By closely monitoring diplomatic relations, geopolitical trends, and potential conflicts, businesses can develop informed forecasts that incorporate geopolitical risks. This enables them to make proactive decisions and adjust their strategies accordingly. Preparing for Potential Geopolitical Challenges While predicting geopolitical events with absolute certainty is impossible, businesses can still prepare for potential challenges. By staying informed, diversifying their operations, and maintaining financial resilience, businesses can enhance their ability to withstand geopolitical shocks. Adaptable and agile business strategies built on geopolitical risk analysis allow companies to navigate uncertainties and seize opportunities in an ever-changing geopolitical landscape. In conclusion, the risk of rising tensions in geopolitics on business cannot be ignored. Geopolitical tensions have wide-ranging effects on international trade, currency and stock markets, and overall business operations. By understanding the nature of these tensions, studying case studies, and adopting effective risk management strategies, businesses can navigate these risks and prosper in an increasingly volatile world. To thrive in such an environment, businesses must be prepared for geopolitical shifts and adopt proactive measures to mitigate potential challenges. Only by doing so can they ensure long-term sustainability and resilience amidst geopolitical uncertainties.
Pat Lynes, Founder of change consultancy Sullivan & Stanley, uncovers how he transformed a WhatsApp group into an expert network of over 1000 change practitioners. Understanding how execs and senior knowledge workers were wanting a different relationship with their careers and ways of working, he set up The Change Society, Sullivan & Stanley’s associate community, pairing the best minds with the most interesting challenges. By Pat Lynes
From humble beginnings Putting my community first is something that has been instilled into me since I was a child. My parents left their home in Ireland to set up a new life in London in 1978. We weren’t welcome in most places as a minority, but this never deterred my dad from making valuable connections. He was a workaholic and often brought me with him to work on weekends, sometimes with the bribe of watching an Arsenal game. The key takeaway from that experience was witnessing how my dad created connections with those around him. As a retail banker, he was a lender to the whole of North London. He’d go off every weekend to meet people in and around the area, whether that be a family-run pizza place or the local carpentry business, he was always doing business proposals and seeing how else he could service the community. I grew up seeing my dad bringing all these different kinds of people into a community, and serving them by giving more than he was taking. So, when I got into contract recruitment and interim management it was the perfect fit for me - bringing people together and being able to link them to business problems was an easy thing to do and something I enjoyed immensely, thanks to him. Creating Sullivan & Stanley’s Change Society When large businesses are in need of consulting services and capabilities, they tend to either go to recruitment firms or management consultancies. I was on the recruitment side, and as the years went on, it became clear that the traditional recruitment model wasn’t as rewarding as it once was and was quickly becoming a race to the bottom. I saw this as an opportunity to work with boards and offer them a bespoke offering by crowdsourcing the best talent I had on hand. The elixir of interim management is that these senior change agents aren’t enticed by permanent positions anymore and are looking for freedom and flexibility. Most have grown weary of navigating the political complexities within corporate organisations. Their aspiration is to join a company, exchange intellectual property, facilitate knowledge transfer, collaborate with permanent staff, enhance their skills, drive transformation, and eventually make an exit. Over the years, I’ve witnessed a massive drain of some of the best talent in the corporate world, particularly in leadership, executive change and transformation roles, which has led to a significant shift in the executive and leadership tiers within organisations. So for me, it was a no brainer. I saw a massive opportunity to create an organisation that harnessed the best of interim management and consulting, whilst neutralising the fallacies of interim management. That's where Sullivan & Stanley’s Change Society came from, which was inverting my black book of 1000 of the best freelance interim managers and change practitioners with years of client-side experience across a range of sectors. I'd gotten to know these people who had resourced and managed over 100 successful transformations - these were the foundation. The idea was to unite them via a community approach to consulting, where we'd be able to neutralise all the fallibilities of being an independent to actually have a proper community, something that could compete as a workforce model against ‘The Big Four’ whilst also designing a methodology of how to transform businesses using that workforce model. I was brought up by my father to understand that it’s a long game for relationships. So, I made several of the members equity partners, and then we went to work. Inspiring the future of work The Change Society has over 1000 members, and over the last seven years we’ve gone from strength to strength. We have around 100 people
working with us at all times on live opportunities and we serve them daily through our business social network, where we communicate, create content and help raise their profile by having them be a part of our content and marketing machine. We also have an incessant amount of events throughout the year, including meet-ups, learning events and opportunities to cross-pollinate clients in The Change Society. The ambition for me is to break up the dependency of ‘The Big Four’ in the larger consultancies at board level because it doesn't work. It's outdated and it's not solving the problem. The Change Society empowers people to build a portfolio of some of their best work and gives them the flexibility to work on their own terms. And the results speak for themselves. When people are looking to go independent, they get recommended to us straight away. I feel very strongly about the role businesses have in changing society. When I named mine after my two children, Sullivan and Stanley, it was to inspire the future of work. I hope all businesses can see why this is so important and realise that we can’t progress without change. I’m seeing more frequently in the corporate world that it’s not about ownership of talent, but rather access to it. I think we’ll see more organisations decentralise into a core, permanent workforce and contract out to the human capital cloud to do their most pressing pieces of work. Companies are too large and bloated to do the work successfully themselves, and so the role of contractors will become more logical and prominent in the years to come. The pandemic helped shift this thinking a little bit, where we had people stuck at home thinking “What am I doing? Why am I working for this company?” They’ve now realised they've always wanted to do this, they've always wanted a bit more freedom to go and take that six week holiday. I think that's across the board, whether you're a baby boomer or the new generation. That one job with a corporation is going to take eight years to get to the top, and I just think that whole idea is slowly dying out. What’s more, as artificial intelligence and generative tooling continue to advance, the pressure on traditional workforce models is expected to intensify, making change and adaptation essential for future success. I want to be right there when that happens. The evolution and the highlights of The Change Society is how we’re starting to prove that maybe we’re onto something. It serves as a testament to the evolving nature of work and the art of the possible in reshaping our professional lives. "The ambition for me is to break up the dependency of ‘The Big Four’ in the larger consultancies at board level because it doesn't work. It's outdated and it's not solving the problem. "
By Nigel Vaz CEO, Publicis Sapient Implementing Generative
By the time generative AI (GAI) burst into mainstream awareness in late 2022 – with OpenAI’s ChatGPT gaining more than 100 million users just two months after launch – AI, machine learning (ML) and data science more broadly had already established themselves as a key component in driving successful business outcomes for organisations the world over.
There is a truth that occupies this space between the understandable present-day excitement around GAI and the fact that AI and ML have been aiding the transformation of modern businesses for some years. It is that while there is an urgency in companies getting to grips with the potential of GAI, its successful adoption depends on getting the fundamentals of business vision, strategy and technology integration correct from the outset. Generative AI represents the next wave of technology with the potential to unlock dramatic business efficiencies and outcomes and to create new digital products, services and experiences. It enables organisations to leverage data in ways previously not possible; to generate operational efficiencies at scale; and gain competitive advantage through customer cognition, increased personalization, and creative new approaches to content. This power that GAI has sits atop the advances already made by ML in all aspects of business to impact both top-line growth and bottom-line efficiencies. As such, the attention and authority of CEOs to harness the future impact of GAI on their organisation is paramount. Success depends on having the correct organisational vision and foundations in place, along with a data & AI strategy that is future facing and keeps pace with the rapid advances in GAI while seamlessly integrating it with existing business and technology systems. As their organisations stand on the brink of this next technological wave, there are critical considerations every CEO should have made before embarking on the journey: The AI vision of the organisation Having clarity on the business outcome you are pursuing is crucial in determining what changes – organisational, technological or both – need to be introduced to get you there. However great the temptation is to implement a new technology, it is necessary to understand what need you are addressing – to improve efficiency, reduce costs, improve the customer experience. Your AI vision will cement your organisation’s direction of travel and ensure all decisions ladder up to support the desired outcomes. Before setting a course to implement GAI, business leaders need a strong sense of the role AI more broadly will play in their organisation, where GAI (as well as other forms of AI) can create actual value for the business, and what the path is to implement to optimum effect. As GAI will play a central role in future business success, key leaders must be aligned on strategy and approach so top-level buy-in must be considered and assured. As well as your CIO and CTO, this means leaders from across the organisational functions – so that GAI does not become a siloed pet project. Right business problems, right time, right cost While GAI certainly presents exciting opportunities, it is critical for CEOs and their teams to focus on solving the right business problems at the right time. Identifying the opportunities that GAI can address and aligning them with organisational goals requires executive leadership to inspire a vision for success with GAI across the entire organisation. We know that GAI can help software engineers write code up to 45% faster and similar efficiencies from GAI can impact design and customer service within your organisation. But are those priority use cases for your business when ML has been shown to drive growth and generate efficiencies in everything from new product development to finance and people management? Quick wins with an emerging technology can be an import way to signal business progress to a host of different stakeholders. At the same time, it’s important to be honest about your data assets and liabilities – or risk that quick win becoming a failure. Generative AI might offer significant upsides but requires investment in your data & AI capability – in people, talent and training as well as the fundamentals of data collection, housing, maintenance and management. A key consideration has
to be how good your data truly is. Be alert to the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ scenario. Most organisations have a large amount of data on their customers, transactions and business processes – but is it the right data and will it get you to the business outcome you were pursuing? How your organisation collects data, its data instrumentation approach, data cleansing and labelling are all vital to the quality of the training data that feeds the chosen algorithm. It’s the difference between a good predictive model and a poor one. Finally, what kind of GAI solution best suits your needs and data capability – off-the-shelf, customizable, or proprietary? Do you start with a GAI playground? Each of which can come in at vastly different investment levels? SPEED capabilities, not just data capability While the excitement around GAI is understandable, and no CEO wants to risk their organisation being left behind as this pivotal technology comes into play, there is also a better understanding among CEOs today that digital business transformation involves more than acquiring technological capabilities in isolation from the rest of the business. It is a given that GAI will play a key role in future business success. CEOs should transform their organisations with this in mind – in order to build a data-led business in which data & AI capabilities work in sync with your full set of ‘SPEED’ capabilities: Strategy: developing and testing the hypothesis based on priority value pools Product: evolving at pace and scale Experience: enabling value for customers Engineering: delivering on the promise, at pace and at scale Data & AI: validating the hypotheses and uncovering insights for constant iteration. The goals for digital business transformation are twofold: to create an organisation that can continually change at pace with the changes around it, and to construct the capability to identify and realise value for customers and business through digital. In both aspects, the potential for data and AI to drive transformative success through rapidly advancing technology has never been greater. Generative AI is every bit as significant a technological wave as the emergence of the internet and ecommerce, mobile and social media. What CEOs learned from those technological advances is to build organisations that are fit for a digital age and able to evolve in line with changing customer behaviour and in step with technological change. The five SPEED capabilities are symbiotic: your experience and product capabilities are in service to your data capability and vice versa; and AI underpins a virtuous loop of learning, decisionmaking and constant iteration. "Its successful adoption depends on getting the fundamentals of business vision, strategy and technology integration correct from the outset."
More younger workers are challenging the “always-on” culture led by older generations who primarily value office-based work and employment. But, when younger workers are the future of their business, firms worldwide must tackle this issue to retain younger talent. So, there are seven rules global businesses should follow to help retain younger workers in a multigenerational workplace. What’s the issue? Post-pandemic, many younger workers understand the benefits of working flexibly. They feel there is more to life than work. As the hybrid debate continues, companies must compete to attract and retain talent, particularly from younger generations. When replacing a single employee costs six to nine months of their salary in hiring, training and lost productivity, this issue is business critical. The Seven Rules for Retaining Young Talent "According to the World Economic Forum, new generations reject unrewarding jobs with a toxic workplace culture, unrealistic workloads and the 'always-on, always-available' mentality." "It’s time to reinvigorate the workplace as global firms welcome the new generations who seemingly will not tolerate what has gone before." "Leaders should focus on career opportunities to enable employees to develop. Gen Z values on-thejob training with a desire for their managers to become ‘personal mentors’." in a multi-generational workplace By Liz Rider
To tackle the problem, companies must rethink their approach to work. It’s time to reinvigorate the workplace as global firms welcome the new generations who seemingly will not tolerate what has gone before. There are seven rules to follow. The seven rules First, enable personal development. GenZ are used to being able to access new content and learn daily. Learning for them needs to be instant and on-demand, always. Learning Experience Platforms such as Degreed, Symfni and Thrive have enabled by the growth of instant learning, providing the user with holistic learning content from inside and outside the company. The employee takes control of their learning, supported, in many cases, by AI, which will recommend content based on needs. In addition to the vast number of digital tools available to support learning, companies must create a learning mindset culture. Second, recognise employees and make them feel valued. A recent Gallup poll stated that younger generations want more recognition than their older peers. Gen Z employees and younger millennials are 73% more likely to say they want recognition at least a few times a month when compared to baby boomers. In contrast, Generation X and baby-boomer employees are more likely to say they never want recognition when compared to Gen Z and millennials. Of course, one size does not fit all, so it is vital to understand each individual’s specific needs. Third, develop people first, inclusive leadership. As more disruptions transpire and the fast pace of change gains momentum, leaders no longer can have all the answers. They need to be adaptable, have high learning agility and be able to collaborate to navigate to the future. Firms must reimagine the role of the leader so they can bring out the best in everyone, irrespective of who they are. This rethinking means selecting, developing and promoting the right leaders who put people at the core of what they do. Fourth, offer flexible work. According to a January 2022 LinkedIn survey, Gen Z (72%) is the generation most likely to have either left or considered leaving a job because their employer did not offer a flexible work policy. But flexible working is not just about where employees work. Some employers enable their people to work four days a week and spend the fifth following a passion or outside interest. This approach can help motivate employees in their four days at work and help enable retention. Fifth, embed career development and opportunities. Gen Z wants clarity around career paths. A recent Amazon report found that 74% of Gen Z/Millennials say a lack of
career mobility and skills development is why they plan to leave their current job. Leaders should focus on career opportunities to enable employees to develop. Gen Z values on-the-job training with a desire for their managers to become ‘personal mentors’ who help with individual advancement. Companies also need to allow talent mobility within the firm. Such mobility benefits everyone, with opportunities to learn, upskill and even break down silos. Sixth, enable work-life balance. Young people want work-life balance. They are looking for positions that best suit their lifestyles rather than the other way around. According to the World Economic Forum, new generations reject unrewarding jobs with a toxic workplace culture, unrealistic workloads and the “always-on, always-available” mentality. Seventh, create diverse and inclusive workplaces with purposeful work. In a survey for job site Monster, 83% of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical when choosing an employer. Gen Z and Millennial workers want to work with companies aligned with their own values. They are also attracted to purposeful and meaningful work, where they are making a difference. We have known for some time that purpose-driven companies have more engaged employees, make more money and are better at innovation and transformational change. Companies that really live and breathe their purpose, promoting a sense of community and connecting individual work to this, will attract and retain talent. With these seven rules, global companies can build an inclusive environment that nurtures young professionals, fuels their growth, and ensures long-term commitment. Liz Rider MSc, AfBPS, C.Psychol is an organisational psychologist and advisor to OnTrack International. "Leaders should focus on career opportunities to enable employees to develop. Gen Z values on-the-job training with a desire for their managers to become ‘personal mentors’." About the Author Liz Rider MSc, AfBPS, C.Psychol is an organisational psychologist and advisor to OnTrack International. www.ontrackinternational.com
From the Mountains to the C (Suite), a Coach's Perspective Photo: ChristchurchNZ Toolkit Kaikoura, South island, NZ
From the pristine peaks to the corporate corridors, the journey of leadership is as varied as the terrain. In this article, Hazel Barlow invites us into executive and leadership coaching, offering a unique vantage point - that of a seasoned coach. With roots in Manchester, England and now a resident of beautiful Christchurch, New Zealand, Hazel’s global perspective and diverse client experiences provide insights By Hazel Barlow "Consider an organisation as a mountain - where you stand determines the view you have and the detail you can see." into leadership, its challenges, and the transformative power of coaching. We traverse the metaphoric mountain of leadership roles, understanding the distinct perspectives from different altitudes and the crucial need for clarity in these uncertain times. Whether you’re an executive eyeing the summit or a budding leader finding your footing, Hazel’s perspective offers clarity through a fresh lens. Photo: Bryan Isbister
Through my development and coaching work, I have gained interesting insights from the experiences of a wide variety of leaders. I’d like to share my perspective on what I think is going on, what leaders could do, and comment on how coaching might help. My executive and leadership coaching clients range from the late 20’s through to 60’s. They occupy various positions in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Many lead teams, others lead with their specialist knowledge. They are all focused on their development and growth to add more value to their team, organisation, stakeholders, and customers. Executive and leadership coaching Executive and leadership coaching is often about clarity, which enables action. Covid has affected and, in some cases, completely removed people’s clarity and led to a perceived lack of control and dissatisfaction that we continue to hear about in various ways. Yet it’s interesting to note that Gallup’s Global Workplace Report 2023 (pages 6&7) shows 23% of the world’s employees were ‘engaged’ at work in 2022, "the highest level since Gallup began measuring global engagement in 2009". It’s great to see this improvement, but there is a significant opportunity for leaders with 77% of the world’s employees, 59% of whom were ‘not engaged’ and 18% were ‘actively disengaged’. State of the Global Workplace Report - Gallup Kia ora koutou katoa, Ko Hazel Barlow tāku ingoa. I whanau ahau I Manchester, Ingarangi. Nō Ōtautahi Aotearoa tōku kāinga ināianei. He kaiwhakaako / Mātanga tāku mahi. Kia ora koutou katoa. Hi everyone, My name is Hazel Barlow. I was born in Manchester, England. Christchurch, New Zealand is my home now. I work as a coach and consultant. Thank you everyone. Author's message
Port Hills View Christchurch • In this dynamic context, clients are asking more questions about how things in their organisation fit together. It can lead them to consider how they now add value and how they fit - their role, their skills and their purpose. Photo: Pam Carmichael
view from the top, but not exactly. You are well aware of the external and internal challenges and opportunities. But how much of the necessary detail can you see? What do you know about what’s going on below and the details people are experiencing? How do you get this perspective? If you’re a specialist leader (e.g., IT, legal, technical, project) you might be near the top of the mountain and have glimpses of the view from the summit. When you look out you can have a broad view, or a more restricted view with considerable detail, depending on how much of the mountain you have access to - the majority or just a section. When you look around what perspective are you missing or perhaps unaware of? For a leader on the lower slopes of the mountain, the view is very different; there’s lots more detail, but when you look up, you can rarely see the top or a full view/vista. You rely on those with a better view to provide information, to communicate, to explain. What happens when you don’t get that? What happens when you can’t see much? Or you don’t know what the big picture is? What do you say to your team(s)? So, where do you stand on this mountain? Close to the top or on the summit? The fact is wherever you stand on the mountain, you’re expected to be productive. Everyone working in your organisation needs to be clear about what is expected of them now and know why this is important to your clients/customers. But when change is continuous, this is easier to talk about than to achieve in practice. So, how can leaders go about improving clarity for their teams? And how can leaders achieve clarity for themselves? Consider your own career Consider your own career to date – in your various roles, how have you found the clarity which drove your The mountain view Consider an organisation as a mountain - where you stand determines the view you have and the detail you can see. The view of the CEO is unique, one that no-one else has; the summit has definition, and your experience of climbing mountains provides you with insights to manage through storms and clouds. When you look down and around, what is the level of detail you have? It’s likely you’ll need to rely on data or others for the detail. Perhaps the majority of your time is spent looking up and out: investors, shareholders, customers/clients, stakeholders, committees, and board meetings. The C-suite leader has a good oversight as you are close to the summit. You have a fair idea of the Using the mountain metaphor ask yourself these questions 1. Where are you on your mountain? How holistic is your view now? 2. When did you last take a long walk around on the lower slopes? 3. What valuable perspective might you be missing? 4. To what extent are you relying on your previous experience? If something has worked in the past is that a guarantee that it will work now in the future? 5. What assumptions are you currently making? 6. Do your team members feel empowered to challenge you, or your assumptions?
Why might you work with a coach? 1. To create time and space to think through your chosen focus areas with a confidential thinking partner. 2. To uncover new perspectives, to learn, to discover and explore new possibilities. 3. To review how you are operating as a CEO/leader and consider your own impact. 4. To achieve your own clarity and focus to decide your next steps. 5. To hear an objective viewpoint if your coach is external to your organisation. An external coach typically works in a number of organisations and is exposed to multiple leadership styles focus and action? How did you learn what you know today? What did you do when clouds drifted in and your view and focus disappeared? How did you establish sufficient clarity to act and deliver results? Your answer probably includes considering the situation, receiving communication and information, talking to others, learning new approaches, applying your knowledge and skill and, drawing on your previous experience. What’s happening on your mountain today? Time is precious. Perhaps you rely on the reports, data available and on your previous experience. How often do you inadvertently revert back to what’s worked for you in the past without giving it a second thought? When did you last take a long walk around on the lower slopes? How often do you spend time looking around inside your organisation? I don’t mean ‘going back to the floor’ or being ‘customer facing’. I mean getting across the breadth and depth of your business - talking with and understanding a whole range of perspectives. What you see and hear with your own eyes and ears is unique because of your view of your organisation is unique. You could be missing something fundamental or something very simple. Without doing so, are you in danger of assuming what is actually happening? Are you in danger of assuming what others think, feel and need? People make their own sense of a situation by watching, listening, asking, talking and thinking. This process helps us to find our own clarity. However, this isn’t usually what business meetings are for. How does sense-making happen in your organisation? When are there informal opportunities for people to hear what leaders are thinking, to ask questions, to enter into a conversation? I notice that leaders can underestimate how important it is for them to share what they can see and what they know. When do you share your experienced view and perspective? How are you letting others learn from you? These experiences can help and enable others to find their own clarity. Experience provides many benefits, but could it also be a blocker? Perhaps you no longer take the opportunity to stop, to review and to reflect on what you know, what you’re doing well and what you might do differently. When did you last receive meaningful feedback? Where is your learning, growth and new insight coming from? How could Executive/Leadership coaching help? Coaching creates time and space for review and reflection and allows you to consider what’s going on for you. Your coach is a confidential thinking partner. They support you in finding clarity for yourself. The coaching process has a forward focus, which enables you to explore possibilities, develop new approaches and next steps. Leaders, and perhaps people generally, are searching for clarity. What can you and your leaders do to enable this in your organisation?
Hazel began her career in the UK as an operational manager before progressing into management development. She held senior corporate roles in leadership development and Human Resources before working on her own as an interim HR director, coach and consultant. Hazel now works in New Zealand as a coach, consultant and facilitator, enabling people and organisations to develop and to achieve their goals. Hazel is a qualified professional coach, who is certified/ credentialed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She holds an MBA from Henley Business School and is a member of the British New Zealand Business Association (BNZBA). In her work as a coach, she has: • Supported clients to identify their personal barriers and skill gaps and empowered them to identify the resources and motivation required to make the progress they wanted. • Enabled leaders to develop their self-awareness, to decide actions and find approaches which improved their effectiveness at work. • Provided the reflective space and tools to help people review their careers to date, consider options and to decide how they would now achieve their revised career goals. "Leaders, and perhaps people generally, are searching for clarity. What can you and your leaders do to enable this in your organisation?" www.hazelbarlowcoaching.co.nz About the author