In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world leadership has taken on a new dimension. The challenges and opportunities facing organisations today require leaders to be adaptable, forward-thinking, and empathetic. As we delved into the dynamics of leadership in 2024, it became apparent that successful leaders are those who can navigate complexity, foster innovation, and build resilient and empowered teams.

Adaptability and Agility:

One of the defining features of leadership in 2024 is the need for adaptability and agility. The business landscape is constantly changing, driven by technological advancements, geopolitical shifts, and societal transformations. Leaders must be adept at sensing and responding to these changes quickly. The ability to pivot strategies, embrace new technologies, and stay ahead of the curve is crucial for organisational success.

Technology Integration:

In 2024, technology plays an even more central role in business operations. Leaders need to not only understand emerging technologies but also integrate them seamlessly into their organisations. Artificial intelligence, automation, and data analytics are no longer optional; they are essential tools for optimising processes, improving decision-making, and gaining a competitive edge. Successful leaders are those who can harness the power of technology while ensuring ethical considerations and human-centric approaches are prioritised.

Empathy and Inclusivity:

The emerging new leadership style places a significant emphasis on empathy and inclusivity. As organizations become more diverse, leaders must be more attuned to the needs and perspectives of a wide range of individuals. Cultivating a culture of inclusivity fosters creativity and innovation, as diverse teams bring varied insights to problem-solving. Additionally, empathetic leaders build strong, cohesive teams, nurturing an environment where individuals feel valued and motivated.

Remote and Hybrid Working:

The global shift towards remote and hybrid work models has reshaped the traditional understanding of workplace dynamics. Leaders in 2024 must excel in managing remote teams, ensuring effective communication, collaboration, and employee well-being. The ability to foster a sense of connection and purpose among dispersed teams is paramount for sustaining productivity and organisational cohesion.

Environment, Social and Governance:

Leadership in 2024 goes beyond profit margins and market share. Organizations are increasingly expected to operate with a commitment to sustainability and responsibility. Leaders need to champion corporate social responsibility initiatives, aligning their organizations with values that resonate with both employees and consumers. A commitment to sustainability not only enhances the organization's reputation but also contributes to long-term success in an increasingly ESG conscious marketplace.

Learning and Development:

Leaders must prioritise continuous learning and development for themselves and their teams. Staying abreast of industry trends, acquiring new skills, and fostering a culture of lifelong learning contribute to organisational agility and resilience. Leaders who encourage and invest in the growth of their teams create a dynamic environment that adapts to change and thrives on innovation.

Leadership in 2024 is a multifaceted challenge that demands a holistic approach. Successful leaders will be those who can navigate complexity, leverage technology, foster empathy and inclusivity, adapt to remote work environments, champion environmental and social responsibility, and prioritise continuous learning.

By embracing these aspects, leaders can steer their organisations through the dynamic landscape of 2024 and beyond, ensuring sustained success in an ever-evolving world.

A vitally important task for a business leader is hiring the right team, but finding the best people is increasingly challenging.

I have just finished watching the wonderful TV series Ted Lasso. The premise is simple: an American Football coach from Kansas is hired to coach an English professional football team in London. Initially Ted’s coaching methods are met with scepticism and resistance until the team starts to win. We all instantly recognise him as a great leader - he lights up the space he occupies and isn’t selfish or egocentric – but over time his energy, purposefulness and generosity become contagious.

I can also see how the analogy of a sports team holds with what I do every day. As most successes for your company come from team effort, creating teams that have a harmonious mix of personalities is essential. The team may contain great players, but if they don’t get along, and don’t add up to a whole greater than the sum of its parts, they may never win a game.

Our clients often prioritise qualifications and experience and while specialisms are often necessary, non-conformity and versatility should not be underestimated. Broad-based background, transferable skills, a collective mindset, and having a personality that fits in can be the small differences that get big results. Even the most talented individuals will fail if they are not supported by, and supportive of, a team with a mix of personalities.

Subconscious bias is so common - and by that I mean defaulting to hiring people who are just like you. It is human nature that when you do find any common ground, you tend to exaggerate it, which means you could easily put the wrong people in critical positions. So, sometimes we encourage our clients to take a calculated risk and consider hiring the wildcard candidate - we all know that embracing change can lead to innovative solutions and better results; somebody very unlike the rest can introduce and inspire new and different ways of thinking to a group.

Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Ted Lasso says more or less the same thing, “I know that I don’t have all the answers, but I got a room full of people who do.

In a world increasingly obsessed with data analysis and AI the differences, and the competitive advantages, could well be found in the anomalous and unpredictable.

Ovell Barbee is a highly accomplished, visionary Human Resources Executive who has been a client, a subject matter expert, and a friend of our firm for over 20 years.

He has a Masters of Human Resources from Michigan State University and has been recognized as a Top-50 HR Professional, Top-100 Chief Diversity Officer and Most Influential Minority.

We wanted to offer our congratulations on the successful publication of his first book, The Big House: A Human-Centered & Progressive Approach to DEI and Positive Workforce Engagement. It became a #1 Amazon bestseller of new releases.

When we asked Ovell about the impetus behind writing this book, he said, "Most companies invest money, time and energy in diversity equity and inclusion without creating and cultivating a human-centered environment.

"This How To book delivers essential advice to company leaders on how to stop the silence, have difficult conversations addressing race and diversity and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable to achieve an environment where everyone can flourish."

We know that many companies fail when trying to create and cultivate an environment that truly embraces diversity and its benefits .

We caught up with Nevena Nikolova, from our office in Sofia, who is a prize-winning film maker and a hugely successful head-hunter. Clearly there are parallels between casting the lead and supporting roles for a film and identifying the best possible hires for a corporate client.

Both professions are all about recognizing talent and making the best use of it, making the talent really shine to its fullest potential.  The job of a Head-hunter and Management Consultant helps develop transferable skills like influential communication (capacity to convince and inspire) as well project management capability that are very useful for me as a filmmaker.

On the other hand the Directing boosts my creativity, helps me build out-of-the box solutions and support clients and candidates in finding new perspectives and changing their way of thinking or acting. What I experience is a kind of a cross-pollination between the two professions and I find it very enriching. I discover a certain Work-Art balance as the one activity is helping me recover from the other and vice-versa.

My artistic journey started as an actress with stage performances of various fringe shows, but I felt I needed more so the second step was a smooth transition to stage directing and afterwards I jumped into film directing. 

My mind naturally produces multiple ideas, images, stories, small pieces of the universe, so writing and directing a movie is a way to share my internal world with thousands of people all over the globe. To feel 'seen' from inside, to experience other people`s reactions, to be able to touch so many souls and minds - this is really powerful and exciting; it makes me feel complete and fulfilled.

Movie Directing is great for upgrading my own leadership skills and style. It requires vision, determination and capacity to balance, align and synchronize the ideas and the input of very diverse professionals, who are often quite opinionated, very emotional and expressive - sometimes ego-driven. When you are an aspiring director, you are full of doubts and it is a huge challenge to keep your authenticity and allow yourself to show vulnerability while nurturing the faith in the project among the crew members. What I discovered while film-making is that it is not necessary to have all the answers and the full picture in order to lead the team, it is enough to be just a couple of steps in front of them.

My first movie MORNING won multiple awards for Best Debut, Best Student Short, Best Silent Film, Best Dance (dedicated to Dance) Film, Best choreography in a Short film, Best actor, Best aspiring filmmaker etc. from international festivals in Cannes, Italy, UK, Mexico, Israel, Chile among others.

The second movie ROOFTOP was recognized for Best Dark comedy, Best lead actor, Best young actress, Best female director ect. Couple of months ago the movie won the Best Independent Short Film award in Silk Road Film Festival Cannes.

Some of my favourite directors are Yorgos Lanthimos, Christopher Nolan, Lars von Trier, Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodovar, Daren Aronofsky, Krzusztof Kieslowski, Jane Campion, Wong Kar-Wai and many others. All of them have inspired my love of cinema but I`m still searching for my very own style as a director.

My business understanding and thinking was influenced by David Ogilvy, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Ray Dalio, Patric Lencioni, and Simon Sinek.

Lovely question! For the younger me I would cast Anna Tayor Joy and Juliette Binoche would be my first choice for the middle aged me.

In 2023 Friisberg will continue to expand, globally.

We were genuinely delighted to open an office in Ukraine at the end of 2022 and two new offices in the UAE this month, We know that we are fortunate to have strong, compassionate, innovative leaders who genuinely care about our people, our clients and the overall wellbeing of Friisberg.

Good things happen when you surround yourself with positive people.

We practise what we preach.

We understand that good leaders promote a sense of trust and confidence and when it comes to being happy at work – and enjoying work is very important. We strive to maintain Friisberg as a close family of exceptional people who work hard, play hard and are at the very top of their professions.

We understand that good leaders promote a safe and collaborative environment for joint problem solving; they generate innovation, a sense of achievement, and ultimately higher levels of satisfaction.

We understand that our clients will continue to battle the War for Talent – and there is an increasing demand for the right kind of talent. For leaders, this means not only targeting, nurturing, and advancing top talent within their own organisation, but partnering with firms like Friisberg to find the right people from elsewhere.

Being a global firm, we appreciate that having an inherently diverse workforce can be an excellent source of innovation. All of our people cherish difference, embrace disruption, and foster a speak-up culture so we know we are far more likely both to retain a broader spectrum of top talent. We can therefore better understand the needs of our clients who, like us, consistently look to drive growth and innovation.

2023 will be a great year for Friisberg, and a great year for our clients, because we will continue focusing on our key value: our People.

Our 117th Partner Conference was held in Copenhagen.

Our own Diversity & Inclusion gives us a huge and sustainable advantage over our competitors. Gender parity is vital to any workplace - not just because it’s a laudable goal; it simply makes bottom-line business sense.

On Friday morning we held a Diversity Debate:

The event started with some inspiring introductions from our guests:

who shared their thoughts, knowledge, and experiences regarding diversity throughout their own careers and at CXO and Board level.

This led on to a larger group discussion where we debated how Friisberg & Partners must continue to promote increased gender diversity for our clients.

What are the barriers to increased gender diversity in 2022?

How are we profiling FPI as a company to women?

How can we help to remove the barriers which deter women from applying for the top jobs?

How do we ensure that our clients become better at attracting female talent?

We understand that our diversity is integral to success.

Gender diversity helps us to attract and retain talented women. No company can afford to ignore 50% of the potential workforce and expect to be competitive in the global economy.

We know that only the highest-performing teams, those with different opinions, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds will ultimately succeed in the global marketplace. We encourage different viewpoints, ideas, and market insights, which enables better problem solving, leading to superior performance.

We make sure it enables us to understand the unique needs of our clients and find innovative ways of addressing those needs.

All our teams have a diversity of genders, as well as backgrounds and ethnicities. But we know that hiring women, transgender, or nonbinary people into our workplace isn’t enough. – we empower our teams to not only reach, but exceed their full potential.

We make gender balance our business – and we want to make it everyone else’s business too.

Friisberg's Autumn 2022

117th International Conference

This week our October conference is being held in Copenhagen and our Danish colleagues are looking forward to welcoming us to their beautiful city.

As ever, our conference will feature a rich programme of keynotes, presentations, workshops and panel discussions which will provide critical content to help our consultants, and the clients they serve, thrive.

Friisberg has a special and constant focus on Diversity and this conference will focus on gender diversity at CXO level.

We have invited several successful leaders to join us and share their opinions on this important topic.

We know that successful organisations must be prepared to adapt and evolve as the world around us changes. However, the impact of social crisis and economic dislocation also calls on us to reflect on how we work, what we believe, and what matters most.

We are looking forward to meeting old friends, making new friends and all being together again.

We make gender balance our business - and we want to make it everyone else’s business too.

Our own Diversity & Inclusion gives us a huge and sustainable advantage over our competitors. Gender parity is vital to any workplace. Not just because it's a laudable goal; it simply makes bottom-line business sense.

It is also the backbone of our innovation. We know that our multiplicity of perspectives sparks creativity, and helps us to spot and seize new opportunities. It also encourages us to always challenge stereotypes.

We understand that our diversity is integral to our success. It enables us to understand the unique needs of our clients and find innovative ways of addressing those needs.

Gender diversity helps us to attract and retain talented women. No company can afford to ignore 50% of the potential workforce and expect to be competitive in the global economy.

We know that only the highest-performing teams, those with different opinions, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds will ultimately succeed in the global marketplace. We encourage different viewpoints, ideas, and market insights, which enables better problem solving, leading to superior performance.

We make sure our teams have a diversity of genders, as well as backgrounds and ethnicities. But we know that hiring women, transgender, or nonbinary people into our workplace isn’t enough. - we empower our teams to not only reach but exceed their full potential.

We welcome diversity - it is essential to how we operate and how we see our future.


Proactive diversity is necessary.

Globalization and other major world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall (consolidation of East and West Europe), wars in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan etc, the aging populations and low birth-rates in major economies of the world have facilitated massive movements of talent from one place to another - mainly to the West.

From a microscopic perspective, in South Africa, where I live, we have seen massive transformation of workplaces since the fall of apartheid in 1994.

This transformation is facilitated by the introduction of employment equity laws, resulting in women and people of colour slowly moving into senior positions that were previously occupied by white males.

All these megatrends point to a dire need for proactive diversity management programs to help organizations manage and leverage on these changes.

In the workplace diversity management is a process of creating a working environment that is both inclusive and diverse.

It values what every employee brings to the table as unique so that the organization can grow and succeed accordingly. The overarching theory is that when employees come together from different backgrounds, creative problem-solving processes grow in turn. This is thanks in part to an increased number of varying perspectives.

A diverse workplace can help organizations in variety of ways.

Mainly, it can serve as a reflection of a diversifying world - thanks to demographic changes, globalization and a digitalizing workplace, diversity can help teams to be better attuned to the many needs of their customers.

A study by Glassdoor shows the following advantages of a diversified workforce:

Originally diversity management was primarily about discrimination in recruitment and promoting tolerance within the company. But over time, things have evolved to where companies recognise the importance of diversity in the workplace as a key competitive advantage.

Here are some tips on how companies can craft their diversity programmes:

Themba Mthombeni
Partner, South Africa

In CEE, leaders tend to overestimate how well their company is doing in terms of gender issues.

With so many diversity and inclusion activities underway it is easy to assume that progress is being made. Then why are there so few women in executive positions?

The new McKinsey report “Win-win: How empowering women can benefit Central and Eastern Europe” examines the potential benefits of greater gender equality for businesses and society, identifies barriers to progress, and suggests actions that could unlock as much as €146 billion in annual GDP by 2030—an 8 % increase over a business-as-usual scenario.

In the seven CEE countries analysed (Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine):

To find out why there are so few women in executive positions in CEE, the survey of approximately 3,000 employees in the region uncovered the following insights:

Ambition is not a challenge: Women are as ambitious as men, but they perceive more barriers to promotion. Men and women showed almost the same level of interest in getting promoted (57 % of women versus 56 % of men). However, 28 % of women said that their gender made it harder for them to secure a raise or a promotion.

Women blame themselves; men blame others: Women who thought they were unlikely to make it to the top said that it was because they lacked the necessary skills (43 %) or the right leadership style (38 %), or that promotions to top executive positions were not based on merit (33 %). A far smaller proportion of men said that they lacked the necessary skills for the job (8 % less than for women), and a much larger share said that it was because promotions were not based on merit (10 % more than for women). In other words, women are more likely to blame their own shortcomings for their failure to become executives, while men are more likely to blame the shortcomings of their company.

Unpaid work is a major barrier: Nearly 40% women provide daily unpaid care work (looking after children, the elderly, or people with disabilities). This is twice as many as men. Essentially, female employees are still working a “double shift”.

The COVID-19 crisis has created additional burdens on women: The increased burden has fallen disproportionately on women. 54% of women with children under the age of ten said the pandemic has made them more likely to consider scaling back on their paid work, compared to only 25 % of men.

Correcting this imbalance would tremendously benefit not only women in their careers and personal lives, it could have a potentially transformative effect on the economies of CEE.

Despite abundant evidence that gender equality in leadership is good for business, for an overwhelming majority of organizations advancing women into leadership roles is not a formal business priority.

One of the major and most complex challenges is to shift the underlying cultural factors. The McKinsey research highlights the need of the leaders of companies and public institutions to be visibly engaged in efforts to reduce the gender imbalance, rather than delegating this work to Diversity Officers.

But including men (holding 98% of CEO positions in CEE) in diversity efforts is not as simple as inviting them to a gender-equity event. Worldwide data from BCG shows that 96 % of companies with men actively involved in gender diversity initiatives report progress at all levels, compared to only 30 % of companies without men engaged. It seems intuitive that involving men would lead to greater results. Yet part of the challenge of getting men to join the efforts, according to BCG data, is that they tend to overestimate how well their company is doing in terms of gender issues.

To remove the barriers that hold women back at work, we have to acknowledge that the barriers exist. We need to realise that gender equality is not a “women  issue”, it is a “leadership issue”.

The last thing that women need is men “rescuing” them or assuming the role of the workplace knight in shining armor.

Because men are in so many leadership roles, they have an enormous opportunity to accelerate progress. Men's voices are critical because of, not in spite of, their gender. When men speak up against gender disparities, they not only become visible as allies, they also raise awareness and acceptance about gender inequity as a shared problem, not a special interest.

Sources:

test map
© 2023 – 2024 J. Friisberg International S.A. – All Rights Reserved.
crossmenu