Strategic leadership doesn't come easily in most organisations. According to a recent Forbes study, statistics show that fewer than 10% of leaders possess strategic skills, a distressingly inadequate number considering the demands on companies today. Strategic thinking is needed not only in times of growth and success; in fact, during hard times when budgets are tight, it is even more important to ensure that resources are focused on the right priorities.
Leaders throughout organisations around the world face tremendous pressures to show short-term results and quick wins; operational leadership is thus often prioritised. This can result in a lack of strategic focus. Additionally, leaders who excel at meeting short-term targets and at solving functional problems may feel paralysed and hesitant when the challenges in front of them are far-reaching and complex. It takes a different set of skills than operational leadership to lead in today's networked economy. Strategic leadership requires leaders to think, act and influence others in ways that promote long-term success for the organisation.
The Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI), a subsidiary of Temasek Management Services (TMS), designed its 8thGlobal LEADERS! Programme in September this year specifically to help senior executives and top management to focus on the next level of leadership by enhancing strategic perspectives through robust discussions and debates. 30 international participants representing 15 companies from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, China, UK and India networked and engaged in mutual learning. Senior peers across industries and cultures exchanged global perspectives in leading teams, while discussing ways to build sustainable competitive advantage and addressing the interpersonal challenges of change and high-performance leadership.
Working with Professor Peter Williamson of the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School, the challenges identified included the need to become much better integrated into the fabric of countries where the leaders operate; rethinking the role of country managers; and focusing more on building the right organisational capabilities to succeed in the future rather than trying to precisely forecast a highly uncertain environment. During the course of the Programme, participants also began developing strategies to catalyse the development of a partner ecosystem around their businesses, allowing them to harness a broader set of capabilities and to deliver enhanced solutions to their customers.
The Global Leaders! Programme started in 2011 and as of today, has impacted about 200 participants. Over the years, the programme participants, who are high-potential senior executives already in global leadership roles, typically C-minus one or two levels have consistently rated the programme very favourably. The Global LEADERS! Programme is one of the courses in the leadership suite offered by the Human Capital Leadership Institute, which also includes the Young LEADERS! Programme, designed for newly appointed high-potential managers and the LEADERS! Programme, which caters to executives who are typically high-potential executives in leadership roles.
Peter Williamson is the Professor of International Management at the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School and Fellow of Jesus College. Peter divides his time between research and consulting on leadership, multinationals, M&A and business ecosystem innovation. He has held professorships at London Business School, Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Formerly with Merrill Lynch and The Boston Consulting Group, her earned his PhD in Business and Economics from Harvard University.
Vikas Tibrewala is an educator and consultant based in Paris and Milan. His primary teaching and consulting interests centre around unlocking growth through strategy development and execution. Vikas previously served for 20 years on the faculty of INSEAD as Senior Affiliate Professor of Marketing and for two years at the Monitor Group as Executive Director and Senior Faculty member of Monitor Executive Development. He holds a PhD from New York University and an MBA from Cornell.
Ronald Warren has a broad range of organisational assessment, executive coaching and clinical training and experience. He earned a PhD from The University of Chicago, Department of Behavioural Science, specialising in Clinical Psychology. After completing clinical training in Chicago, Ron moved to Silicon Valley and shifted his vocational focus to Industrial-Organisational Psychology to build computer-based assessment systems.
A 2013 Harvard Business Review study found that only 8% of leaders are good at both strategy and execution.