The leadership agenda

CEOs globally are facing the leadership challenge of their times which calls for ‘extraordinary leadership’. The world’s business leaders are grappling with the severe stresses of a challenging economic and political environment that is more pressing than ever before.

Businesses are struggling with a widening mismatch between the skills of their workforce and the talent they need to achieve strong growth. As if these difficulties and challenges aren’t enough to contend with, they also have to face an environment where issues of stakeholder trust and corporate reputation have hit an all-time low. Business leaders are faced with a dilemma: to rebuild and restore confidence, while also attracting and retaining the best talent. It can be done but it will require the most resilient leaders of all time.

CEOs remain as concerned as ever about the availability of key skills. This survey shows that nowhere is the shortage of skills more acute than in many fast-growing markets in Africa, where creating and fostering a skilled workforce is highly regarded by the majority of CEOs (84%).

Business leaders have plans to change their approach and strategy to talent management. However, this isn’t something new. CEOs have told us the same thing for the past six years. While it’s inspiring that business leaders have placed talent strategy at the top of their agenda, some CEOs may also need to take a second look at their approach to evaluate its impact. Strategies and planning should lead to change over time.

CEOs are aware they need to invest in talent in order to secure the skills they require to compete globally. Forward-looking organisations are using techniques intended to develop and advance staff to ensure that required skills are available in the near future. These days there is more focus on leadership programmes.

Dangote Group has set up a ‘Dangote Academy’ specifically to build the technical and vocational skills of recent graduates, enhancing their career prospects and employability. ‘Skills shortages is one of the major problems that we face in Africa,’ says Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of Dangote Group. ‘Having comparative advantage is no longer enough. You need a superior talent pool.’ Like many other companies in Africa, Dangote Group actively invests in talent to grow its business.