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Hindsight is 20/20. Yes, we’ve learned the hard way that it’s easier to evaluate past choices in look-back mode than at the original time of decision-making, but that’s all changed with the advent of predictive analytics, which give business organizations unprecedented visibility into their people, including insights to unlocking the potential leader in every employee. This goal is no longer just aspirational; it’s a reality and in this global economy, a necessity.

In this era of fierce competition for talent, a company has the potential to be born and die in less than five years. This is why it is imperative that a leader understands the full extent of what is needed to survive in this new age. The leader’s power is no longer just theirs -  it belongs to those they lead. And with four or five different generations trying to co-exist in the workforce today, getting a millennial to stay in a job role for more than 2 years requires a lot more than just a competitive salary and the promise of rising through the ranks. Unlocking every worker’s ability to desire their own potential can only emerge when management invests in every individual’s purpose and prospects for growth.

What’s obvious – and our panel of experts affirm it – is that old leadership models need an overhaul. But with some baby boomers moving toward retirement and a war going on for who will best replace the exiting leaders, change won’t come so easily. The search for the next great leader isn’t just technical. It involves identifying and engaging those with the highest potential, meaning talent who are potentially most retainable, engaged, resilient and innovative…and more. There is a caveat, however. These most-sought-after employees don’t often simply drop out of the sky – or cyberspace. HR has to work to find them, draw them in, and lead them to the right roles and a workplace culture that gives them the incentive to stay and thrive.

Want to eavesdrop on a very timely discussion about what it’s going to take to find and develop tomorrow’s brave new leaders? Click to hear panelists Ravin Jesuthasan, Managing Director, Towers Watson; Niki Ernst, TEDx Ambassador; Karie Willyerd, Vice President of Learning and Social Adoption at SAP Cloud; and David Learmond, Senior Advisor and Fellow in Human Capital at The Conference Board.

Top memorable insights from our panelists:

  1. Leadership development looks in the rearview mirror. There are new things we need to navigate and explore. We need leaders who have a high degree of self-awareness, humility and willingness to take advice from different generations. Right across the board, trust has been shattered. Need leaders willing to rebuild that trust –David Learmond @ConferenceBoard
  2. Management will be rated openly. It will be a really interesting day when a teenage kid looks online and sees what people are saying about their mom/dad at work. –Karie Willyerd @angler
  3. Running a company is like running a family. Like parents, [the goal is to] make the kids strong. Hire slow, but don't fire. –Niki Ernst @stolz2000
  4. Leadership is about how you build a family - that's where we're seeing the retention strategies. In China, India, it’s all about "the family" –David Learmond @ConferenceBoard
  5. Hire slow and fire slow: All the data available will help us [decide] who we bring into our orgs to have this core culture. –Karie Willyerd @angler
  6. Yes, hire slow and fire slow, but we need to develop fast to ensure we are developing talent at the pace of organizational growth. –Ravin Jesuthasan @ravinjesuthasan
  7. Anyone with a 'crystal ball' is not seeing the future. More than half the jobs in the next 10 years aren't even invented yet. For example, the new data scientist is like storyteller - a journalist, piecing together, "What does that create?" –Karie Willyerd @angler
  8. Boomers will not be so much retiring – but rewiring. I see this as a very positive thing. –David Learmond @ConferenceBoard
  9. It’s not going to be 1 or 2 generations. We will have 5 in the workforce. I could be working with my daughter or great granddaughter. –Karie Willyerd @angler
  10. You can decide if you want to be old if you’re 70 – but you don’t have to be. We must connect leadership of the older and experienced, to the new, young and hungry. Very exciting challenges ahead. –Niki Ernst @stolz2000

Top #CrystalBall Predictions for the year 2020:

  1. Realistic idealism: More unknown and unexpected people coming to stage. Less hidden agendas, sentiments and show-off. –Niki Ernst @stolz2000
  2. Great companies are throwing out old methods and going to a shorter list of competencies and building resilience. To access this leadership? The line between tech and humanity (GoogleGlass) is going away....and man becomes immortal. All of our memories will be downloaded, for example. Prediction: Great Transparency. –Karie Willyerd @angler
  3. Optimism: More leaders with a sense of purpose – trust and inspiring people. Developing people who are resilient and collaborative. More aware of CSR (corporate social responsibility). Research: Freedom within a framework. We will be more transparent. This is currently not done right at most companies. –David Learmond @ConferenceBoard
  4. I think business leaders are going to have to restructure the resources of how to get work done. More of that work will get done outside of the boundaries by non-traditional employees. This means a sustainable balance between employees, contractors, outsourced in a way that is a truly networked organization. Agility and capabilities that we haven't seen in the past. –Ravin Jesuthasan @ravinjesuthasan

The next episode of HR Trends with Game-Changers Radio explores the timely topic, Recognition Drives Retention At Work. Stay tuned and please follow us on Twitter at #SAPRadio.

Co-edited by Bonnie D. Graham