Leading in the Future

In 2020, millennials will represent almost half of America’s workforce and an equal number of leadership positions in companies both large and small. By 2020, as many as 80% of companies will be led by executives with a deep knowledge of technology. Read on to see how your own organisation may need to change its leadership approach to cope with increasingly demanding disruptive change.

What is changing?


  • There is a growing concern among many business leaders that a startup is going to come from nowhere and “do an Uber” to their business model.
  • 4 in 10 incumbent leaders across all industries will fall victim to the digital vortex in the next 5 years.
  • Organizations with the highest levels of customer satisfaction will gain market share and thereby build a platform for economic sustainability.
  • Business leaders expect CIOs to provide the competitive or performance edge to their organizations through technology.
  • Leaders will prioritize data that drives down costs.


  • Focusing less on control and more on leadership is something CIOs will need to do when looking at making inroads into the world of the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Cognitive computing will enable new business models and change the way entire industries work.
  • Software will need to become a core competency for digital leaders.
  • A lack of executive-level leadership and understanding of cybersecurity risk and governance is further complicating many organizations’ abilities to effectively address sophisticated threats.


  • Leaders have given a strong signal that strengthening gender equality will be an important focus area of the G20 for years to come.
  • China‘s top leaders issued a statement to send a clear message that the next phase of growth will be of higher quality, efficiency, equality and sustainability.
  • Culturally competent healthcare organizations will be better poised to compete in an increasingly customer-centric, patient-centered environment based on life-long relationships between providers and patients.
  • Public anger will grow if the G20 leaders allow the world’s largest corporations to continue dodging billions in tax while inequality rises.


  • Leadership and people are the real advantages that the U.S. military will bring to the future battlefield-superior technology can be stolen or neutralized.



  • Candidates for leadership in the real world will probably have their DNA profiles scrutinized


  • The power of ordinary people will grow.
  • There could be a greater sense of loss of legitimacy and confidence in government.
  • Civil society organizations will have to live up to the rhetoric and become more transparent, accountable, and democratic.
  • Momentum will continue to build for women leadership.


  • Corporate leaders wishing to build employee loyalty will need to emphasize the company’s participation in the same world of causes and commitments that are the keys to successfully attracting Millennial customers.
  • Authentic and empathic leaders will do well in the new world of work where the human side of business prevails.
  • The job of visionary future leaders in a hyper-connected world will be to embed the fundamentals of effective, autonomous self-management into every people process.
  • Autonomous leaders will operate with agility and fluidity throughout the entire network of networks because they will have no other way to get things done.
  • The world’s top Business Schools will themselves have to change.
  • The winners in this new digital world will challenge conventional thinking on product innovation, customer engagement, organizational structure, strategy and business models.
  • The role of the chief digital officer will become more and more pivotal.
  • Future leaders will be digital natives.
  • Strong leadership teams and distributed leaders in key positions throughout businesses will be essential in the future.
  • Leaders with global appeal will find their influence heightened and the speed of their impact accelerated.
  • Smart leaders who are agile and fast to adapt will use connectivity to transform their business models.
  • Leaders and managers must prepare themselves to question all of their old procedures and understand that in the future, human beings will hand over many more tasks to artificial intelligence.
  • Companies that are purpose-driven and focused on employee skill-development and engagement will have to make tough decisions on how to incorporate automation within their core business activity.

Learn more

Develop your answer and response

Find the sources and more resources onShaping Tomorrow‘s “Leading in the future” some of which were used in this Trend Alert, or ask us for our ready-made in-depth PowerPoint report or more detailed GIST briefing on this or any other topic of interest to you.

Also, click here to find out how ShapingTomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.


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