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The future of leadership: anticipating 2030

Digital transformation challenges companies and employees. In order to withstand the pressure to innovate, new structures and new skills are required - regardless of the size of the company.

Grant Thornton explores the way professionals work is evolving, which leadership skills will be needed within the dynamic mid-market to thrive and how organisations can stay competitive in the war for talent and customers in 2030.

A skillset for the new business world: innovate, adapt and collaborate

The business world is arguably on the cusp of the greatest period of transformation since the First Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Industry 4.0 is presenting both challenges and opportunities. Organisations with the right leadership skills can take advantage of new trends and emerge as leading players in their sectors.

Innovation is a sustainable and lasting process that runs through the entire company. Business leaders need to adapt their own skills and those of their teams if they want to remain competitive. Everyone in the company should be open to new ideas. You don´t have to have all the answers – but you need to ask the right questions.

What does tomorrow's leadership look like?

New trends in technology will change the way organisations work entirely over the next 10 to 15 years. Almost every industry will be affected by the Internet of Things, cloud-based infrastructure, AI and machine learning.

The biggest disruptors will come from technology, with Grant Thornton’s 2019 International Business Report (IBR)[i] – which surveyed senior leaders in mid-market businesses around the world – suggesting the rise of the digitally connected world will be the greatest change, cited by 42% of respondents. This is closely followed by other technological advances, including artificial intelligence (AI) and big data at 40%; and increasing use of automation and robotics (35%).

Forces beyond technology

Besides technology, there are other aspects, which also affect the world of work. The challenges for managers are increasing - volatile markets, employees with changed life emphases as well as cultural, structural and environmental change. In an increasingly complex world, leadership responsibility will depend heavily on personal development.

Demographic developments will present companies with the challenge of managing the concerns of several generations. In order to obtain and retain young talents, businesses will need to refocus and perhaps restructure their recruitment processes.

Keep the big picture in mind

The challenges organisations and leaders face over the coming years are considerable, and will likely require fundamental changes to both leadership behaviours and business operating models. To find out how your business can build the leadership, vision and culture to harness the disruptive forces of 2030, contact our experts at Grant Thornton Austria.