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The ‘megatrends’ that are transforming global business

Trending near you: the ‘megatrends’ that are transforming global business
Ground-breaking book calls for a new style of leadership and new form of organisational structure

Auckland, February 27, 2014 — A new book published this month reveals the six ‘megatrends’ that are fundamentally transforming the global business environment.

The book illustrates the dramatic impact these megatrends are having on companies and on their markets, cultures, systems, and processes. It sets out a compelling vision of how firms will need to be structured and led in the future.

Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need To Understand To Lead Your Company Into The Future is written by Hay Group consultants Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell, and published by Amacon Books. It isthe first business book to analyse the six megatrends – in isolation and in combination – and explore their implications for organisations and leaders.

The megatrends

Based on unique foresight analysis, Leadership 2030 pinpoints the following megatrends that businesses and their leaders will need to address in the coming decades:

1. Globalisation 2.0: Asia dominates the global economy, and a new middle class emerges.
2. Environmental crisis: Sustainability moves from CSR initiative to business-critical imperative.
3. Individualism and value pluralism: Freedom of choice erodes loyalty and overhauls employee motivation.
4. Digitisation: Work goes mobile, and the boundaries blur between private and professional life.
5. Demographic change: Aging populations intensify the talent war.
6. Technological convergence: Powerful new technologies combine to transform many aspects of everyday life.

Georg Vielmetter, European head of leadership and talent at Hay Group, comments: “These are changing times. We wanted to get a clear grasp of exactly what is changing, what the future will look like, and how business leaders need to adapt to cope.”

<View video interview with the authors>

The consequences

The authors also identify five combined consequences of the megatrends (‘reinforcers’) for businesses to tackle:

1. Stakeholder proliferation: A multiplication of the vested interests leaders need to consider.
2. A power shift: Away from leaders and toward stakeholders.
3. New working practices: The emergence of a new ‘social practice’ of work.
4. Cost explosion: Due to the scarcity of talent and natural resources and use of new technologies.
5. Ethicisation of business: A demand for the highest ethical standards from firms and their leaders.

Tomorrow’s leaders

Leadership 2030 highlights how the business leaders of tomorrow will need to be very different to those of today. Conventional styles of leadership will prove inadequate in a world shaped by the megatrends.

The vast complexities of the global business landscape will demand what the authors call ‘altrocentric’ leaders: individuals whose primary focus is on others, not themselves, and who see themselves as a part of the greater whole.

The book sets out a model for the skills and competencies of the altrocentric leader. Essential attributes include empathy, maturity, integrity, openness and self-awareness; impeccable ethical standards; complex strategic thinking; and the ability to create meaning for employees.

Georg Vielmetter comments: “Traditional, command-and-control leadership will fall short in the face of the megatrends. The future will demand a new style of leader: one who instinctively understands the subtleties of leadership, and knows that he or she cannot navigate the complexities of the business environment alone.”

Bounded autonomy

Altrocentric leaders will also realise that new kinds of organisational structure will be needed to allow their firms to adapt as the landscape evolves.

Increased complexity will demand tighter management and co-ordination, yet employees will want greater flexibility and control over their work and lifestyle. Leadership 2030 therefore calls for leaders to create ‘bounded autonomy’ – autonomy defined by a clear direction and defined boundaries – to empower and guide employees in an individualised and digital world.

Yvonne Sell comments: “Organisations typically struggle to provide autonomy and to create boundaries. Yet bounded autonomy will be the greatest weapon in the war for talent, and a vital enabler of innovation in a megatrend-driven environment.”


Please note: this study should be credited to ‘global management consultancy, Hay Group’, and not ‘Hay’ or ‘Hays’, which are separate and unrelated organisations.

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