Many organizations have come to rely on DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) for
evidence-based research into corporate leadership practices and systems worldwide. For
GLF 2018, DDI collaborated with The Conference Board and EY to convert data into
actionable insights and recommendations. ALM Intelligence’s Liz DeVito recently sat
down with Tacy Byham, DDI’s CEO, to learn about this year’s study.
Q&A with DDI’s Tacy Byham
: What’s different
about this year’s research?
Byham: This is our eighth study on
global leadership since we launched the
research stream in 1999. Over the years,
the research has been consistent in its
purpose to uncover insights into the
state of global leadership and provide
evidence-based recommendations on
developing leadership talent. What’s
notable about this year’s study is that we
expanded the sample and strengthened
the questionnaire’s alignment to
business issues. GLF 2018 is our largest
survey ever and, we think, the largest
of its kind in the market today. Over
25,000 business leaders and 2,500 HR
professionals at 2,488 organizations
worldwide responded to our survey,
including 1,000 C-level executives.
Our partnership with The Conference
Board (TCB) was instrumental, and
we integrated findings from TCB’s
CEO Challenge into our survey design
and presentation of findings.
: Tell us a bit more
about those synergies.
Byham: We both knew that many things
are keeping CEOs up at night—digital
disruption, political instability, the
potential for a global recession. C-level
executives are acutely aware of the
need to reinvent their organizations to
successfully navigate and compete in
the new world order that is emerging.
More importantly, they know they
cannot do this without the right kind of
leadership in place to execute strategy
and drive transformational change.
This is reflected in TCB’s research,
which found human capital-related
issues rated as top CEO concerns in
2018: developing the next generation
of leaders came in at number one,
followed closely by failing to attract
and retain top talent. Our research
more than validates these sentiments.
Only 14 percent of CEO respondents
say they have the talent they need
to execute their business strategies.
Furthermore, our data show that
perceptions of leadership quality have
diminished despite billions of dollars
spent each year on development. The
percentage of respondents who say
they have high-quality leadership has
hovered around 40 percent since 2011,
and those who say they have a strong
pipeline of future leaders has dropped
from 18 percent in 2011 to 14 percent in
this year’s study. The message is pretty
clear that organizations worldwide are
facing a massive leadership shortage at
a time when they can least afford it.
: What can CEOs do?
Byham: The good news is that our
research reveals a clear road map of
how organizations can start changing
their people strategies today to excel
tomorrow. GLF 2018 focuses on 25
key findings about the state and future
of leadership. For each finding, a team
of DDI, EY and TCB consultants co-
authored a summary that describes
the business issues and leadership
implications, visualizes the data.
: Is there a high-
level message for CEOs?
Byham: Most definitely and it is
embodied in an integrated view
of six leadership megatrends that
emerged across the findings. In short,
the message for the c-suite is that the
digital world has radically changed the
leadership landscape. To be successful
in this new era, you need to challenge
your mindsets and assumptions about
who in your organization is a candidate
for leadership. Most companies have a
narrow definition of the type of person
who has leadership potential and invest
their resources in a small group who
meet that criteria. Organizations that
take a broader view of leadership
potential and practice an inclusive
culture that values diverse perspectives
prove to be more financially successful.
: Is DDI taking its
Byham: Yes, we are. We think of our
entire talent pool as an ecosystem
of leadership potential and consider
ourselves a living laboratory for best
practices. After all, we’re on the
same journey as our clients.