Six Leadership Trends for 2017

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2017 Trends

A new year brings new challenges, and 2017 is no exception. Forbes Contributor Jeff Boss outlines some leadership and development challenges that will remain at the forefront during the year. Some trends are to be expected: Personal challenges. Team challenges. Organizational and leadership challenges. Others are outside the usual realm of leadership lists, such as the importance of customer control as leaders strive to succeed, personalized training or trends toward 1099s.  

1. More “we,” less “me.”

It’s no secret that team performance drives business performance, and leaders are beginning to realize that dividing their organizations into areas of functional expertise (i.e. silos) does nothing to promote the broad view and understanding needed to make accurate and timely decisions. The greater employees’ awareness about their company’s internal and external (i.e. competitive) environments, the faster they can make decisions and the faster their company can adapt. Knowledge sharing and cross-pollination between business functions must be a process rather than a “nice to have.”

2. Increased attention on curiosity.

Curiosity has topically been a leadership trend throughout 2016 and will continue into 2017. To stay competitive, companies must be willing and able to move out of the complacency of success that defined them today and continually question the status quo so they can create a better tomorrow. Organizational curiosity does just that—it feeds people’s innate desire to know more, and when you know more, you can be more by doing more.

3. Greater investment on human capital.

Millennials comprise the majority of today's labor force. The smart option for industry leaders is to recognize the importance of personal and professional development in motivating millenials. One 2017 leadership trend for preventing the millennial job-hop will be increased mentorship opportunities.

4. More customer control.

Research by the IDC points to greater customer control as one leadership trend for 2017. Specifically, the report projects that a fifth of industry leaders will be able to allow customers greater customization options for product and service bundles, affording greater control and personalizing of the customer experience.

5. Increased focus on networks.

Along similar lines, Deloitte’s 2016 human capital trends report indicates that the number one dilemma organizational leaders face is how to stay competitive—structurally—amidst constant and ongoing change, and the realization that matrices and hierarchies of the 1980s no longer work. The challenge now is translating how work is claimed to get done (think of the company org chart) with how it actually is done (through relationships and networks).

For leaders to keep their companies competitive throughout 2017 they’ll need people who can not only lead their own team but also work and collaborate across teams; it's the difference between teamwork and teaming. The skill and willingness of tomorrow’s employees to work cross-functionally demands new training and new expertise that doesn’t come from the outdated hierarchical models of yesterday.

6. Reevaluated incentives.

One common challenge across organizations today is their reward system. While many leaders place a premium on teams and teamwork, the reward structure favors individuals. You receive what you reward, and if you want to reward collaboration, learning and shared wins, you have to incentivize it.

What are your top leadership trend projections for 2017? Executive Forum can help you target specific programs designed to realize your 2017 goals. Our comprehensive, results-oriented leadership development solutions build skills at every level, from the front-line to the C-suite. Start making your leaders stronger and more effective with our Step-Up and Leadership Lab™ workshops. Call 503.635.3079 or contact us for more information.

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