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12 Mar. 2019 | Comments (0)

Each day in the U.S., about 10,000 baby boomers retire. On the upside, this exodus opens considerable opportunities for young, rising stars to climb the corporate ladder. At the same time, their rapid advancement highlights the need for company leadership to often re-examine their strategies for developing future leaders.

Given the stakes, it comes as no surprise that such developmental issues keep executives up at night. In a recent survey my company, The Conference Board, conducted that asked over 1,400 C-suite executives about their top business challenges for 2019, they ranked developing next-generation leaders as their third-biggest internal concern. Moreover, a related issue – attracting and retaining top talent – was their first.

How can organizations position their rising leaders for success down the road? Taking these three steps would be a good start:

Double Down On Digital

Borders. Circuit City. Blockbuster. They all closed their doors because of their inability to out-innovate competitors.

Looking ahead, the technological disruption and upheaval caused by digital transformation will only intensify. And because of that, companies will need to put greater priority on developing their digital-savvy leaders. Doing so will likely pay big dividends: The most recent Global Leadership Forecast, a joint project by The Conference Board, DDI and EY, found that organizations with the strongest digital leadership capabilities financially outperform those with the weakest by a whopping 50%.

To help strengthen the digital acumen of future leaders, companies need to make involving them on digitalization projects an integral part of their strategies. It is not about being digital, but rather, thinking through how fundamentally the business will change on every level and knowing how to leverage digital.

The same forecast above also indicated that digital-ready leaders are much more likely to take on stretch assignments than digital laggards. Organizations need to determine what strategic projects not only propel the business but also enhance the competencies of the leaders who participate.

This op-ed was originally published by Forbes. Continue reading here.

  • About the Author:Rebecca L. Ray, PhD

    Rebecca L. Ray, PhD

    Rebecca Ray is the Executive Vice President, Human Capital, at The Conference Board. She leads the US Human Capital Center and is responsible for member engagement and retention as well as the overall…

    Full Bio | More from Rebecca L. Ray, PhD


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