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Korn-Ferry Study: Investors Lack Faith in CEO Leadership

ESM readers will find the results of this recent Korn-Ferry study of no surprise, but it should be a wake up call to both boards of directors and business school educators: Most CEOs have yet to embrace the value of a strategic and systematic approach to human capital management. 
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Two-thirds of investors believe today’s private-sector leadership is unfit to handle future challenges, according to a recent Korn Ferry report published by Bloomberg news. According to Bloomberg, the results are part of a larger study on the qualities required of leaders “that will allow them to handle challenges in coming years and decades.”

“A majority of leaders can’t make decisions and take smart actions quickly enough, motivate people effectively, or build trust -- all of which is needed to ensure their organization’s survival into the future,” the authors of the report conclude. According to survey data, 67% of investors believe the current leadership stock isn’t fit for the future. At the country level, the figures were 82% in China, 70% in the U.S., with Singapore coming in at 51%.

“Investors are looking at, ‘Who can tell me the growth story I want to believe?’” asked Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry’s Global Solution Leader for Leadership Development. “They do care about the talent and the bench” of upcoming leaders, he says. What can corporations do to make sure they have CEOs who can maintain investor confidence and who are prepared to handle future challenges? According to Baltzley: “We have to be a little more disruptive. Energize, manage information flow. Let people have a place to be heard. There’s a theme of care, positivity and optimism that these leaders bring when they’re doing it right.”

These job qualifications differ significantly from the views of 800 business leaders surveyed by Korn Ferry in 2016:
• 63% said that in five years, technology will be their firm’s greatest source of competitive advantage.
• 67% said that technology will create greater value in the future than people will.
• 44% said the prevalence of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will make people “largely irrelevant” in the future of work.
• The top five assets named by the CEOs in 2016 were (in order): Technology (product, customer channels); R&D /Innovation; Product/Service; Brand; and Real Estate (offices, factories, land). Employees and customers didn’t make the priority list in the survey that year.

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Igniting Passion in Your Employees and Customers 

Andy Bollwerk

Master the Principles of Enterprise Engagement to Achieve Organizational Goals and Enhance Your Career
  • Profit from a new systematic approach to engagement to enhance your organization’s brand equity; increase sales, productivity, quality, innovation, and safety, and reduce risks.
  • Achieve ISO 10018 Quality People Management Certification to demonstrate your organization’s strategic commitment to people to your customers, employees, distribution partners, vendors, communities, investors, and regulators.
Live Education: Enterprise Engagement in Action Conference at Engagement World, April 3, 2019, in San Francisco, in conjunction with the Selling Power Sales 3.0 Conference. Learn about the economics, framework, and implementation process for an ISO certifiable approach to achieving organizational objectives by strategically fostering the proactive involvement of all stakeholders. Learn more and register now.   
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Plus: 10-minute short course: click here for a 10-minute introduction to Enterprise Engagement and ISO standards on
Services: The International Center for Enterprise Engagement at, offering: ISO 10018 certification for employers, solution providers, and Enterprise Engagement technology platforms; Human Resources and Human Capital audits for organizations seeking to benchmark their practices and related Advisory services for the hospitality field.
The Engagement Agency at, offering: complete support services for employers, solution providers, and technology firms seeking to profit from formal engagement practices for themselves or their clients, including Brand and Capability audits for solution providers to make sure their products and services are up to date.
C-Suite Advisory Service—Education of boards, investors, and C-suite executives on the economics, framework, and implementation processes of Enterprise Engagement. 
Speakers Bureau—Select the right speaker on any aspect of engagement for your next event.
Mergers and Acquisitions. The Engagement Agency’s Mergers and Acquisition group is aware of multiple companies seeking to purchase firms in the engagement field. Contact Michael Mazer in confidence if your company is potentially for sale at 303-320-3777. 
Enterprise Engagement Benchmark Tools: The Enterprise Engagement Alliance offers three tools to help organizations profit from Engagement. Click here to access the tools.
• ROI of Engagement Calculator. Use this tool to determine the potential return-on-investment of an engagement strategy. 
• EE Benchmark Indicator. Confidentially benchmark your organization’s Enterprise Engagement practices against organizations and best practices. 
• Compare Your Company’s Level of Engagement. Quickly compare your organization’s level of engagement to those of others based on the same criteria as the EEA’s Engaged Company Stock Index.
• Gauge Your Personal Level of Engagement. This survey, donated by Horsepower, enables individuals to gauge their own personal levels of engagement.
For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.

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Igniting Passion in Your Employees and Customers 

Andy Bollwerk
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