Your top leadership may not be as fit for the future as you may think. Korn Ferry’s The Self-Disruptive Leader study revealed that out of the 795 investors surveyed globally, 69% of investors in Asia Pacific said today's private-sector leadership is “unfit” for the future.
Concerns peaked in China, where 82% of investors say the traditional leadership stock is not fit for the future, with investors in Japan not far behind (80%). In Singapore and Hong Kong, while investors were amongst the least pessimistic in the region, more than half still agreed with the sentiment - 51% and 54% respectively.
In APAC talent was found to be a primary decision-making factor for investors, especially in Australia where 92% say the CEO is critically important when deciding which companies to invest in. On the other hand, investors in China were the least likely to hold this opinion in the region, with 70% saying the CEO is critically important.
Globally, 78% insisted the CEO is critically important when deciding in which companies to invest in and 83% cited an exceptional CEO as critical to an organisation's success in disruptive times.
The survey further revealed that a majority of investors in China (96%), Indonesia (91%), Singapore (91%) and India (90%) believed organisations are confronted by disruptive challenges.
In line with this, they recognised the need for transformation will only increase the demand for effective leadership in the very near future. Investors in Malaysia were the most adamant - 77% said the need for transformation is going to make leadership more important to company performance within the next three years. While investors in Australia a close second at 76%.
That said, APAC also hosts the most sceptical markets of the study. Investors in India and Indonesia were the least likely to recognise the increasing importance of leadership, with just over half (54%) saying it will be the case.
The demand for future-ready leaders was felt more urgently in some markets than others. More than two thirds of investors value future vision and orientation over past performance in Hong Kong (66%) and Singapore (69%), peaking to 78% in Japan. Investors in Singapore are also much more likely to agree that the challenges of disruptive market conditions will make leadership more important within the next three years (86% versus 69% globally).
In APAC, only Indonesia bucks the trend, where less than half (46%) of investors said they value future vision over past performance.
The study further analysed 150,000 leadership profiles worldwide to reveal that , on average, only 15% of executives across the globe, including Asia Pacific, had what it takes be truly great leaders in the rapidly-changing business world.
Although Singapore, Hong Kong, and India, had the highest proportion of self-disruptive leaders in the region, this figure stands at only 17%.
Gareth McIlroy, Managing Director Advisory, Korn Ferry Singapore, said: "Companies have a crucial role to play in cultivating leaders of the future. To close the leadership gap, businesses urgently need to revolutionise how they uncover future execs who have what it takes—and accelerate their growth, as well as build a culture that empowers talent at all levels to challenge and innovate."
According to The Self-Disruptive Leader study, a new model of future-ready leadership is required. Building on existing concepts of agile, digital and inclusive leadership, self-disruptive leaders also possess a strong portfolio of future-oriented skills: the ADAPT dimensions* – which encompass the ability to anticipate, drive, accelerate, partner and trust.
Each of the five dimensions then qualify as the biggest priority for leadership development in the country, according to the gaps between the ADAPT skills that leaders have and the ones that the markets demand.
In Singapore, the biggest gaps between leaders’ current performance and market demand were trust and anticipate. Singaporean leaders need the ability to drive towards a vision and purpose and build trust more effectively to become self-disruptors.
Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry’s global solution leader for leadership development and co-author of the new report, The Self-Disruptive Leader, said: "For the last one hundred years, leaders have been taught that control, consistency, and closure are the principles of business leadership. But dramatic changes to the global business environment mean that this is no longer a reliable blueprint."
McIlroy added: "As we accelerate further into the age of disruptive technology, competitor landscapes are evolving more quickly than ever before. self-disruptive leaders who can continually adapt to keep pace with the market are the key to success in today’s disruptive environment, but not all business leaders are ready for the challenge."