CEO Worldwide Bulletin: January 2020

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Happy New Year and welcome to the latest issue of our quarterly newsletter. All at CEO Worldwide wish you a successful 2020 as we continue to bring you the latest news from the world of executive recruitment.

It’s a new year, which invites new ideas. So we’ve chosen the theme of innovation for this newsletter, something that is central to our mission at CEO Worldwide. Indeed the company was founded in 2001 because we felt the traditional methods for C-suite recruitment were no longer fit for purpose.

It was clear to us that international business required a responsive and fluid C-level recruitment service that embraced, as a matter of course, cross-border executive resourcing for both interim and permanent leadership appointments. As we approach our 20thanniversary, this need has grown in scale and complexity. And so executive recruitment must constantly innovate to ensure that the lifeblood of successful business – a supply of vibrant, diverse and skilled leaders – continues to flow.

What’s the right skills mix for tomorrow’s high-performing leader?

The growth of emerging technologies in every facet of business operations – from production to data security – is placing additional demands on C-level executives worldwide.

Research published by Gartner shows a growing expectation that leaders must possess the right balance of both hard and soft skills in a fast-changing and volatile business world.

Gartner analysed over 400 job postings for C-suite executives across the globe, from China to the USA, to reveal their top 10 in hard and soft skills. The hard skill most in demand was a knowledge of Artificial Intelligence, followed by data science, machine learning techniques and cyber security, all required by executives to drive digital business strategies and efficiencies most effectively. Design Thinking topped the list of soft skills, but customer centric capabilities such as complaint management and customer satisfaction also featured strongly, reflecting the absolute necessity of 21st century businesses to place customer engagement at the centre of their mission and strategy. Read more here.

Will more women in your senior management team boost your company’s innovation?

New research from Denmark suggests that, for businesses wishing to innovate, a shortage of female executives at board level could be a significant problem. A survey of 400 companies indicated a positive relationship between the number of female executives in a business, and its innovation record. (This comes as no surprise to us at CEO Worldwide and is one reason we launched our successful Female Executive Search service.)

In addition, each company needed more than one female executive for this to happen, but then the level of innovation continued to rise with each additional female C-level appointment.

So perhaps diversity quotas should be based on the need to drive innovation? Read more about the research here.

Recruiting your C-level team: can A.I. play a role?

Demonstrating cognitive ‘soft’ skills such as creativity and problem solving remains an important requirement for C-level job applicants (see article above on ‘the right skills mix’). Traditionally, these have been challenging to identify and test thoroughly using the CV and interview selection format. However the increased adoption of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) techniques could be about to change that.

The Financial Times reports on new methods to test for these valued cognitive skills based on databases and algorithms. Candidates are asked to complete on-screen tests, but these are not designed to count correct answers to questions. Instead they measure how an applicant reacts if she is struggling with a question, and the creativity and determination she shows to find other routes to an answer.

This is just one example of the growing role A.I. can play in your business. As technology advances, predictions that eventually machines will take over all jobs are looking increasingly naïve. The demand for lower skilled workers in sectors such as construction and agriculture remains robust and this is likely to continue.

However A.I. is increasingly being used to measure the performance and productivity of the human workforce through wearable devices. This may appear a little sinister but such data monitoring could also be used to improve working hours and environment. Read the FT’s report on AI here.

Innovating with creativity to make your business more competitive

In each newsletter we like to showcase one of our talented vetted iCEOs and share their views on a current business issue.

Dr. Valérie Lejeune has 20 years’ experience in Innovation, Research and People Management in industry. She believes that creativity is a vital mindset needed to overcome damaging, obsolete thinking patterns within companies.

Dr. Lejeune has invented a method to develop individual and group creativity to help companies in their cultural transformation. Called ‘Attitudes for Creative Thinking in Group’ (A.C.T.I.N.G.), it focuses on the importance of sincere feelings and emotions that stimulate trust (see the Stanislavski Art Theatre and Actors studio principles).

The underlying scientific model is based on two mechanisms: ‘emotional detour’ and ‘swing attitude’. The outcomes are rich in terms of trust, performance (production of original and robust ideas) and competence.

You can watch her video here where Valerie talks about her experience of introducing innovation into companies and the four factors, including creativity, required for this to take place.Is there anything you’d like to see in the next issue of our newsletter? Let us know at [email protected]

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