Five Trends C-Suite Leaders Must Watch for in 2019
As the new year begins, we’re keeping an eye on some key business trends that are building momentum and depth. Leading companies continue to evolve – realigning their approach toward corporate culture, change and the marketplace, and becoming more sensitive to the need to retain high-performing employees in a tight employment market. Here are five key shifts we think will make or break businesses in 2019 and beyond.
1. Empathy takes center stage.
During 2018, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, we witnessed a renewed effort on preventing harassment and discrimination in the workplace, which is a great start. But in 2019, as employers dig deeper to affect meaningful change, the focus will expand. Employers will need to commit to creating a working environment based on empathy, trust and respect.
Leader tip: Model (and teach!) empathy, trust and respect.
2. The CEO must be the new Chief Change Officer.
Over the past several years, we’ve seen an increasing number of positions like “head of change” or “chief change officer.” However, what successful companies are realizing is that the CEO is actually the chief change officer. CEOs who want to be successful in 2019 and beyond need to be able to effectively lead change. They need to have:
- a vision for what the future will look like;
- the ability to activate leaders to drive change;
- the talent necessary to be successful moving forward; and
- an approach for engaging their people.
Leader tip: Use vision, leadership, talent and engagement to imagine the future and lead people to it.
3. Cultural integrity leads to sustainable performance.
Technology leaders like Google and Facebook have long been valued for their innovation and dominance of the market. But recent headlines have put some real pressure on these companies to become more accountable for how they lead, manage and engage, in addition to what they can deliver to the market. To protect business outcomes for the long term, companies need to make sure their culture and performance aligns with their values.
Leader tip: No matter what your size or industry, you must define your critical leadership behaviors and link them to your corporate goals.
4. The employee experience is increasingly about the customer/client experience.
In 2018, we watched yet another retail giant, Toys-R-Us, close its doors, and department stores like Macy’s and Sears continued to face financial challenges. Many continued to lament the death of retail. But in the meantime, forward-thinking companies like Amazon, Capital One, Restoration Hardware, and Eileen Fisher are engaging their employees to use insights and creativity to deliver fresh and personal retail experience concepts, such as cash-free stores, bank cafes, lifestyle/design centers, and makers’ spaces. In 2019, this trend will continue, as companies engage their employees to build their customer/client experience muscles and transform how consumers engage with their brands.
Leader tip: Employees must begin using insights to design & deliver customer/client experiences, not products.
5. The allure of the entrepreneurial life remains high, especially for women.
Women continue to leave mid-career corporate jobs at disproportionately high rates and represent an increasing percentage of small business owners. As a result, C-suite leaders are realizing they need to work harder to keep these valuable movers and shakers in-house. They must create a more modern and flexible workplace – one that attracts, retains, rewards and engages their most progressive talent in new and creative ways.
Leader tip: Modernize the employment experience at your company, so you can retain and engage your most forward-thinking change agents.