With uncommon qualities and characteristics, these future-ready leaders will drive organizations to adapt, collaborate, and excel in disruptive times.

INTRODUCING

THE SELF-DISRUPTIVE
LEADER

To ensure organizations succeed in a rapidly changing business world in the years ahead, a new kind of future-ready leader must take priority. Current models of leadership go some way to answering this, but research by the Korn Ferry Institute reveals the ideal leader for tomorrow’s disruptive business environment: The Self-Disruptive Leader.

This new model of high-performing leader incorporates and builds on existing concepts of agile, digital, and inclusive leadership, but also highlights the importance of leaders who are experts in the creation of opportunity and the capitalization of the flow of knowledge. In this model, the new source of competitive advantage is a leader who can connect resources and people adeptly to build an innovation ecosystem. This enables them to bring robust ideas to market at a rapid pace and, crucially, to adapt quickly to change by disrupting themselves again and again.

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INTRODUCING

THE SELF-DISRUPTIVE LEADER

To ensure organizations succeed in a rapidly changing business world in the years ahead, a new kind of future-ready leader must take priority. Current models of leadership go some way to answering this, but research by the Korn Ferry Institute reveals the ideal leader for tomorrow’s disruptive business environment: The Self-Disruptive Leader.

This new model of high-performing leader incorporates and builds on existing concepts of agile, digital, and inclusive leadership, but also highlights the importance of leaders who are experts in the creation of opportunity and the capitalization of the flow of knowledge. In this model, the new source of competitive advantage is a leader who can connect resources and people adeptly to build an innovation ecosystem. This enables them to bring robust ideas to market at a rapid pace and, crucially, to adapt quickly to change by disrupting themselves again and again.

Businesses
urgently
need to begin
cultivating the
right leadership
pipeline:

Businesses urgently need to begin cultivating the right leadership pipeline:

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ABOUT
THIS STUDY

This study reveals the skills that leaders will need in the future of business—and in today’s increasingly disruptive environment. We uncover how many leaders are performing highly in these areas and where there is a pressing need for improvement. By analyzing the leadership profiles of 150,000 leaders from the Korn Ferry Institute’s proprietary data, the study underlines the five key qualities of effective, future-focused leadership—qualities which correlate with a country’s ability to innovate and which correlate with a company’s likelihood of being an acclaimed brand. It also reveals how well leaders in 18 key global markets are performing in each dimension, and where improvement is urgently needed.

Additionally, the study uses opinion research from 795 investors and analysts to model the gap between the current supply of these high-performance behaviors and the market’s demand for them, to reveal just how wide leadership skills shortages are globally and by market.

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Future proof
Yourself

Leaders of the future will need to retain a self-disruptive outlook as a central feature of their leadership style to prosper.

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Full Report
Discover a new leadership paradigm to help your organization thrive in disruptive times.
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Short Report
Find out how you can ADAPT to thrive in the future of work.
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Infographic
Explore the readiness of 18 economies in managing disruption.
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Country Reports
Discover what Self-Disruptive Leadership means for each of the economies in our study.
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Full Report
"A new model of future-ready leadership to excel in disruptive times."
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Short Report
"Self-Disruptive Leaders are different in the way they both think and behave."
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Infographic
"Leadership is about to make or break future businesses."
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Country Reports
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Why
Adapt?

With 67% of investors insisting that the current leadership pool is not fit for the future, it’s no surprise then that investor confidence in current leadership styles and organizations is wavering. Organizations could be faced with a double bind if they fail to develop self-disruptive behaviors. Not only will they be less able to adapt to the changing business environment, they may face a penalty from those who evaluate their businesses.

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For leaders
to succeed in the
future of work,
they must adapt:

For leaders to succeed
in the future of work,
they must adapt:

Anticipate:
Demonstrate contextual intelligence to make quick judgments and create opportunities; focus on the societal needs that the organization wants to serve; provide a direction to unify collective efforts even among disoriented environments.
Drive:
Energize people by fostering a sense of purpose; manage the mental and physical energy of themselves and others; nurture a positive environment to keep people hopeful, optimistic, and intrinsically motivated.
Accelerate:
Manage the flow of knowledge to produce constant innovation and desired business outcomes; use agile processes, quick prototyping, and iterative approaches to rapidly implement and commercialize ideas.
Partner:
Connect and form partnerships across increasingly permeable functional and organizational boundaries; enable the exchange of ideas; combine complementary capabilities to enable high performance.
Trust:
Form a new relationship between the organization and the individual that centers on mutual growth; integrate diverse perspectives and values; help individuals to uncover their sense of purpose and facilitate them in providing their maximum contribution.

Leaders need to
close the gap

Each of the five dimensions qualify as the top priority for leadership development in at least one economy, according to the gap between the ADAPT qualities leaders possess and the qualities investors demand.

Bringing clarity in times of volatility and ambiguity. These are leaders who are not going to wait for luck to find them. They are motivated by challenge and obstacles—all they see is opportunity!
Energizing people who are change-weary, and yet must re-skill themselves for an uncertain future. They also nurture positivity and hope, through optimism, to foster a sense of renewal.
Leading by managing the flow of knowledge using principles of design thinking and Lean, but letting go—doing it without the need for control.
Collaborating without sole ownership of the issue, leading a distributed, non-hierarchical organization—interdependencies are voluntary and transitory.
Bringing people together with a tremendous amount of diversity, secure their commitment, and recognize they have their own purpose, ambitions, and self-expression.

Do you have what
it takes to become a
Self-Disruptive
Leader?

Becoming a Self-Disruptive Leader is not subject to the development or enhancement of a set of skills. It’s a mindset and the ability to constantly challenge your own beliefs and assumptions. Your mindset helps you organize your belief system and sets the course for behaviors and actions. We believe that the future of work demands a new mindset and a new course of behaviors and actions, and only those leaders who have the courage to challenge themselves have a chance to effectively lead their organizations into the future.

This short quiz has been designed to introduce the concepts of the Self-Disruptive Leader and generate initial curiosity about yourself. It doesn’t intend to be a substitute for psychometric assessment. If you are interested in getting more reliable results and receiving feedback, please contact credible resources for professional services.

Cultivating
an invaluable
talent

The pursuit of Self-Disruptive Leaders will mean seeking them out in unusual places, and it is crucial that talented people are not blocked because they do not fit traditional training or personality criteria. As a group, tomorrow’s leaders will look and act differently to current directors and C-suite executives. They will have attended a variety of schools and come from a range of different places, and many will have risen to the top through non-traditional paths. Diversity and inclusion will become more imperative than ever, and talent assessment—with true insight, objectivity, and value—will be vital.

“Investing in and developing those with self-disruptive tendencies throughout the business is critical, but frankly it can rankle senior leaders. ‘Natural’ self-disruptors may be considered impossible rebels by their bosses because they often won’t accept conventional wisdom and constantly agitate for change. This unconventional thinking positions them perfectly for leadership in a disruptive world. But it also can, ironically, block this important talent from advancement.”

Khoi Tu, Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry

To tackle this complex and multilateral issue, organizations need to think about talent as a system—including recruitment, compensation, training, development, and succession planning. These functions and programs may need a full revamp to ensure that organizations widen and maintain a flow of diverse talent, especially of hard-to-find Self-Disruptive Leaders.

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The
final word

To create opportunities in an ever-fluctuating world, organizations need Self-Disruptive Leaders—people who are engines of change, but also generate it from within, at the pace of their business. Traditional training routes aren’t equipped to solve the leadership crisis, often producing outmoded mindsets that can’t keep up with the rate of change. Instead, a revolution in how companies develop leaders is vital for closing the leadership pipeline gap.

To capitalize on an increasingly disruptive world, companies must accelerate their identification, recruitment, retention, development, and promotion of leaders with self-disruptive potential at all levels of the business. Organizations must develop a culture that empowers everyone within them to challenge their own thinking and disrupt themselves. This final point underpins the solution to the leadership crisis. Leadership can no longer be isolated and inscrutable: by cascading ADAPT proficiencies throughout the organization, companies will develop a self-perpetuating ecosystem of leaders, ready for whatever the future of work brings.

“Investing in and developing those with self-disruptive tendencies throughout the business is critical, but frankly it can rankle senior leaders. ‘Natural’ self-disruptors may be considered impossible rebels by their bosses because they often won’t accept conventional wisdom and constantly agitate for change. This unconventional thinking positions them perfectly for leadership in a disruptive world. But it also can, ironically, block this important talent from advancement.”

Khoi Tu, Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry

Cultivating
an invaluable talent

The pursuit of Self-Disruptive Leaders will mean seeking them out in unusual places, and it is crucial that talented people are not blocked because they do not fit traditional training or personality criteria. As a group, tomorrow’s leaders will look and act differently to current directors and C-suite executives. They will have attended a variety of schools and come from a range of different places, and many will have risen to the top through non-traditional paths. Diversity and inclusion will become more imperative than ever, and talent assessment—with true insight, objectivity, and value—will be vital.

To tackle this complex and multilateral issue, organizations need to think about talent as a system—including recruitment, compensation, training, development, and succession planning. These functions and programs may need a full revamp to ensure that organizations widen and maintain a flow of diverse talent, especially of hard-to-find Self-Disruptive Leaders.

Talk to us

The
final word

To create opportunities in an ever-fluctuating world, organizations need Self-Disruptive Leaders—people who are engines of change, but also generate it from within, at the pace of their business. Traditional training routes aren’t equipped to solve the leadership crisis, often producing outmoded mindsets that can’t keep up with the rate of change. Instead, a revolution in how companies develop leaders is vital for closing the leadership pipeline gap.

To capitalize on an increasingly disruptive world, companies must accelerate their identification, recruitment, retention, development, and promotion of leaders with self-disruptive potential at all levels of the business. Organizations must develop a culture that empowers everyone within them to challenge their own thinking and disrupt themselves. This final point underpins the solution to the leadership crisis. Leadership can no longer be isolated and inscrutable: by cascading ADAPT proficiencies throughout the organization, companies will develop a self-perpetuating ecosystem of leaders, ready for whatever the future of work brings.

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