The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Executive Leadership Landscape

In an era defined by technological leaps, artificial intelligence (AI) stands as a transformative force reshaping industries across the globe. The realm of executive leadership is no exception, as the advent of AI brings forth a wave of changes that will significantly influence how organizations identify, nurture, and leverage their top-tier talent.

Data-Driven Decision Making

AI is revolutionizing the way leaders make decisions. With advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, executives can now rely on data-driven insights to inform their strategic choices. This shift not only enhances decision-making precision but also demands a new set of skills from executives, emphasizing the importance of data literacy at the leadership level.

Augmented Leadership Roles

As AI systems take over routine tasks, executives will find themselves freed from mundane responsibilities, allowing them to focus on more strategic, creative, and high-impact aspects of their roles. This augmentation of leadership responsibilities requires a paradigm shift, encouraging executives to develop a symbiotic relationship with AI tools to maximize efficiency and innovation.

Redefining Skills Sets

The rise of AI necessitates a reevaluation of the skills expected from executive leaders. While traditional leadership qualities remain indispensable, proficiency in understanding and leveraging AI technologies becomes a critical asset. Executives need to cultivate a deep understanding of AI applications relevant to their industry, ensuring they can harness these technologies to drive organizational success.

Ethical Leadership in AI Adoption

The ethical implications of AI adoption are a growing concern. Executives will play a crucial role in navigating the ethical landscape of AI, ensuring transparency, fairness, and accountability in its implementation. Leaders must proactively address ethical challenges, building trust both within their organizations and among stakeholders.

Global Talent Pool Dynamics

AI facilitates remote work, opening new possibilities for global collaboration. Executives can harness AI tools to identify, recruit, and manage diverse talent from around the world. This globalization of the talent pool requires leaders to adapt their management styles to accommodate diverse perspectives and work cultures.

Continuous Learning and Adaptability

AI evolves rapidly, and executives must keep pace. The expectation for continuous learning and adaptability becomes a cornerstone for effective leadership. Executives need to cultivate a mindset of lifelong learning, embracing new technologies and staying abreast of industry trends to lead their organizations through the dynamic landscape shaped by AI.

As artificial intelligence continues to permeate the business world, executive leaders face both challenges and opportunities. Embracing AI as a strategic ally, redefining skill sets, navigating ethical considerations, and fostering a global perspective are essential elements for executives to thrive in the AI-driven future.

The journey ahead requires leaders who can seamlessly integrate AI into their leadership style, guiding their organizations towards sustainable success in an ever-evolving landscape.

Key Intangible Factors Considered by Executives in Career Decision-Making.

After years of interviewing executives, we have identified a series of intangible benefits that they value when considering a career change and a new project, which they believe will determine their success.

Apart from the specific challenges of the company, the role, and the executive's experience and skills, the following are some of the key elements they consider when making a decision:

These elements vary when it comes to a listed company, versus an unlisted company. In the case of a listed company, they also consider the following:

These are basically differences in terms of shareholder pressure, financial regulations, access to capital, and strategic focus, which influence their decision-making.

In addition, whether a business is mature or not also introduces new elements into the mix before making a decision, depending on the stage of business development and the specific needs associated with each.   For example:

All of these are key elements to consider when defining an ideal executive profile for a position in a company and should be considered.

Why Humans Trump AI in Executive Search

In today's digital age, artificial intelligence (AI) has undeniably revolutionized various industries. With advanced algorithms, machine learning, and natural language processing capabilities, AI-powered recruitment tools promise efficiency, speed, and accuracy in talent acquisition.

Despite the technological advancements, we know that the human element remains indispensable in the Executive Search process - here's why:

We know that the human touch remains irreplaceable to attracting and retaining top talent.

By including your team in the decision-making, investing in the future of your workforce, being willing to try out new ideas, clear communication, and a bit of tech-savviness you, as a leader, will be ready to navigate in the tech revolution!

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, leaders need to embrace a mindset of continuous adaptation. We’re in an era of ‘The Digital Age’ where new transformative tech and trends are reshaping everything, forcing us to revisit what effective leadership really means. There is however no doubt that it involves staying informed about emerging technologies relevant to their industry, understanding their potential impact, and proactively integrating them into their business strategies.

The leaders that successfully explore and leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics are to gain major competitive advantages. However, if leaders resist adopting these new technologies, their companies might face challenges and fall behind in the market.

The question emerges: How does one navigate this rapidly changing landscape and stay ahead?

Well, digital transformation, which is a big term for a big change, is more than just incorporating new tools. It’s about changing the way your organization works, its culture, and how people think about their work. Hereby, the leaders play a crucial role in driving and managing this transformation, ensuring that it aligns with the overall business strategy. We have the pleasure of presenting five ideas on how you as a leader can successfully embrace and manage the digital transformation ahead to make it a success.

Inclusive Decision-Making:

By including the employees, the employees should have a say on where digitization could and should be adopted. When employees generate their own ideas about where digitization supports business, it is more likely to become a success. Include your employees!

Investment in Your Team’s Skills:

Developing talent and skills throughout the organization is a fundamental action for transformation and one of the most important in digital change efforts. This covers, defining roles and responsibilities, hiring digital talent and engaging integrators. The integrators are employees who understand both the business side and technical aspects and can translate and integrate the new digital methods and processes into the existing ways of working. Invest in your team!

Digital upgrade for day-to-day tools:

Give your daily tools and processes a digital makeover. With a strategic digital upgrade of the daily tools, you ensure to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. Be willing to try out new things!

Communicate the Change:

Clear communication is critical during a digital transformation. Telling the employees, the when, how and why it is changing and why the changes are important, helps the employees understand where the organization is headed. Explain the when, how and why!

Tech-Savvy Leadership:

You don’t have to be a tech expert, but possessing a basic understanding of key technologies is essential. Tech-savvy leaders can effectively communicate with their technical teams, make informed decisions, and lead their organizations into the future. Invest in yourself!

To summarize how to navigate in the tech revolution, leadership in the digital age is all about having a clear vision, being adaptable, and being open to new technologies. Bringing together these qualities is crucial for steady growth and lasting success in today’s tech-driven business world. These steps might seem simple at first but can be very effective for leaders to steer their organizations not just through digital changes but toward a future filled with innovation and prosperity.

Is your organization facing a larger tech transformation and looking to broaden your tech-savvy talent pool?

Feel free to reach out to your local Friisberg office

A new challenge for Executive Search

It is normal to quantify the right salary for a position, of any level, and especially for those that are classified as C-Level. Equally daily, during interviews with candidates, we recognise those soft skills that increasingly make the difference between one profile and another.

But have we ever considered what values can be of value to a candidate? Have we ever wondered what remuneration a candidate would be willing to revise for the right job?

In light of the ‘Conscious Quitting' phenomenon that characterised 2023, the HR world will have to reflect on this question and start taking into account the importance that a personal set of values can have for a candidate.  In fact, some studies brought to the fore by major national and international media, show that with reference to ‘Conscious Quitting', the choice, the decision to leave or change jobs due to ethical conflicts, is growing significantly.

The analysis of the problem conducted by Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, and by the EIB - European Investment Bank - highlights that in an historical moment characterised by wars and massive natural disasters that threaten our stability and our future, the Z Generation are very concerned about the world they will inherit and are willing to devote their time and talent to companies that are committed to providing them with a better future. Consequently, they are willing to quit when their companies let them down'. And it is not only young people who are fuelling this trend, but also Millennials and a minority of Enlightened Boomers.

The ideal candidate, in a future that is already here, will not only be the one who demonstrates that he or she has the expertise and soft-skills needed to fill a certain role or do a certain type of work, but it will become increasingly important to understand whether their values are shared by the ethos of the firm in which they will work and vice versa.

We are delighted to announce that V.E.R.A. Consulting will become part of Friisberg & Partners in Milan, offering Executive Search, Assessment, Executive Coaching and Organisational Development Consultancy.

As part of our dynamic and forward-thinking approach, we are thrilled to announce the opening of our new office in the vibrant city of Milan, Italy. This strategic move is a testament to our commitment to global expansion, fostering innovation, and cultivating strong relationships with clients and partners worldwide.

This reaffirms our successful global strategy to develop solid partnerships based on shared values and mutual esteem, integrating diversified skills and experience to offer our clients bespoke, forward-looking and extremely effective solutions.

From our central offices located in Sant'Ambogio, Aureliana De Sanctis and Giovanni Mantica will be the Partners dedicated to Executive Search. Thanks to their extensive experience within specific sectors, we know that they will strengthen and expand the presence of Friisberg & Partners throughout national and cross-border territories.

Milan, often regarded as the financial and fashion capital of Italy, serves as an ideal location for our new office. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage, a thriving business environment, and a strategic geographical position within Europe. Renowned for its historical landmarks, world-class cuisine, and influential fashion and design industries, Milan provides a unique backdrop that aligns perfectly with our values of excellence and creativity.

Our strengthened team in Milan brings several benefits to our valued clients and partners:

Enhanced Service Delivery: Proximity to European markets allows us to provide faster and more responsive services, addressing the unique needs of clients in the region.

Cultural Understanding: A local presence ensures a deeper understanding of our clients' cultures and business landscapes, enabling us to tailor solutions that resonate with their specific requirements.

Innovative Collaboration: By engaging with Milan's innovation ecosystem, we open up opportunities for collaborative projects that drive mutual growth and foster innovation.

Our strategically important office in Milan reflects our commitment to providing exceptional services, fostering innovation, and building lasting relationships on a global scale. We look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, confident in our ability to thrive in Milan's dynamic business landscape.

We are ready to work together as one close-knit Team!

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.

As the year concludes, we extend our sincere appreciation to all our clients for your ongoing partnership and commitment. It has been a pleasure working with you, and we appreciate the opportunities to contribute to your success.

May the winter break offer a well-deserved respite, allowing you to recharge for the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead. We look forward to continuing our productive collaboration in the coming year.

This holiday season, we also reflect on the collaborative efforts of our global and local teams who have all contributed to the success of our firm. Their unwavering commitment to excellence is truly commendable and we all look forward to more shared accomplishments in 2024.

Everyone at Friisberg wishes you a joyful holiday season filled with relaxation and good company.

How can you assess DHL’s contribution to the crisis situation in Ukraine during the war and the innovation of the DHL brand as a whole for the Ukrainian economy?

In June 2022, we resumed our work in Ukraine. We had to completely reformat the company's business processes as we used to deliver postal items by air to achieve the desired delivery speed and high quality. At the moment, we use road transportation in Ukraine, deliver to Poland, and there all our cargo is already included in the DHL network. This requires additional time and restructuring our processes within departments. We purchased additional trucks, our couriers received additional category driving certificates, but we understand that for many of our clients we remain the connecting force in Ukraine. Our clients are mainly business companies that need to run their businesses in order to survive this fundamental time for our country.

We pay taxes to support our country and provide paid work to all our employees. There were no staff reductions in the company and we added additional bonuses to employees to support them during this difficult period. We also consider it our duty to maintain the salaries of mobilized employees. - they are our protectors and heroes. We also help demobilized employees adapt to the workplace. They all have funding issues, and we're changing our processes so people can continue to work.

How do you motivate your employees at this difficult time?

Currently our plan embodies simple golden values: understanding with the ability to listen and help. At the moment, it is very important to us that our people feel cared for and supported.

We continue to pay salaries, we even meet our obligations to raise salaries once a year. We provide all the social benefits, vacations, sick leave, continue to insure employees, etc. We allow those who can work from home to do so.

We care very much about people's safety. We turned our office into a real hub of stability: we purchased generators, beds, blankets, non-perishable food in case of blackouts. Employees can come to the office, warm up, wash things, take a shower and eat.

We practise constant communication with those who serve in the military. We constantly inform our employees about how the service is going, which of our mobilized defenders need help, visit them in the hospital, and proudly share information about who have been given awards - for example, two of our employees were awarded the Cross for Courage!

We also made reservations against the mobilization of 40% of men.

Employees support our company's attitude towards them, they value us and do everything possible to support the business during this difficult time.

Could you please tell us about DHL program GoTeach?

Even though there is a war in our country, we continue to support our Ukrainian children. We believe that this is our strongest contribution to the future of our country. These are mainly children from large foster families and many of these families were relocated from the East part of Ukraine.

In October of this year, we signed an agreement with SOS Village and agreed on a number of useful and interesting  activities for the next year.

For example, at the end of October, we invited children from large families to come to us for a career guidance excursion - 40 children accepted our invitation. We told the children about the history of our company, our business and corporate culture. The children visited key departments where managers told them about what the department does, showed how employees worked, and what knowledge and skills they need to have to get a job in our company. It was a very fruitful discussion because we received so many questions from the children. Then they visited our warehouse to see our processes, and see all our our vehicles.

DHL Central Europe region, which includes 14 countries, within the global Volunteer Day had an initiative to help get Ukrainian children to school. 14 countries in CEU region sent us stationery, school backpacks, other interesting school goods and at the end of the excursion we presented the children with big packs full of such presents.They were very happy!

We received great feedback from the children, so next year we plan to have more activities and master classes for children.

We are proud that in times of war, when many companies have halted their business activities in Ukraine, our company continues its charitable activities.

The last month of the year has begun. In December, we often evaluate the past twelve months and look to the coming year.

For many, the year 2023 has been a time of uncertainty and financial turmoil and it's understandable if you feel gloomy or worried about the future. So how can you still continue to build trust in teams and workplaces for the future when the December blues take over?

We residents of the North are currently living through the darkest time of the year. Surviving the winter darkness, particularly during the polar night, can be challenging, but we Finns have developed various strategies to cope with it.

Here are some tips that might help you to survive the December blues - like a Finn:

Search Light:

Here, where the sun is non-existent during the winter months, we use light therapy lamps which mimic natural sunlight.  

Be the sunlight for your team. Look for positive things, don't wallow in negativity. Remember the year's successes and achievements, focus on what we can do.

Stay Active:

Regular exercise can boost your mood and energy levels. At work, this means not letting hard times get us down. Let's stay active and not become passive, even if it requires more effort to do so. Closing that deal might need just that one call more - you can do it.

Socialize and Create a cozy atmosphere:

Combat feelings of isolation by maintaining social connections. Have that Christmas party, make the call to ask how you are - turn on your inner Christmas lights!

Employees may feel uncertain about the stability of the organizations and turbulent times can take a toll on employees' mental health and well-being. Try to create stability and comfort through open and continuous conversations, gatherings, and community spirit.

Maintain a Routine:

Establishing routines can help create a sense of normality. Continue to have the routines in place as before and create agilely new ones if needed. Staying consistent works in all conditions.

Protect against the Cold:

There is no bad weather, just bad clothing. Make sure your team has the right “thermal clothing” to face even the difficult times. Discuss openly what is needed to succeed in the current situation. Offer ways to strengthen resilience, for example through coaching. By investing in these abilities, you have equipped them with the means to survive.

Let’s head on to December with the wise words of the former President of Finland, Mauno Koivisto: “Unless we know for sure how it will turn out, let's assume that everything will turn out well.

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