Predictions about leadership in 2030: The management consulting firm Hay Group worked with the German futurists at Z-Punkt to identify six mega trends such as globalization, technology convergence and the individualization of careers that will shape the kind of leaders companies will need in the future. I spoke with Georg Vielmetter, Hay Group’s regional director of leadership and talent, about the newly released study “
Well, I think it's a result of the human mind always trying to see causality, even when there is only random correlation. A bit the same way superstitions arise and foragers are not immune to those. People in key positions are the most visible parts of an organization and our minds tend to see causal links between what these people do and how the organization as a whole fares, I believe foragers would do too. In some ways there also really is a causal link, that this has often more to do with the position than the merits of the person tends to get overlooked (if an organization is built in such a way that everything has to pass a central nexus to be rubber stamped then the organization depends on that nexus and the nexus might use this to justify an extravagant salary, but one has to wonder if that nexus is actually necessary and if it is, how difficult it is to be be sufficiently good at being a nexus, those latter aspects are usually overlooked in every defense of megasalaries and bonuses that I've come across).
The overestimation of the performance of people at key positions ... is rooted deeply into human nature
Why do you think so?
Do foragers manifest this overestimation? I doubt it.
"When you manage, you direct resources where they are most needed. When you lead, you direct resources to yourself. Therefore, leadership is preferable to management." - Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook
"In any case, what I'm really hoping for is that by 2030, we'll have busted the Myth of the Super CEO Who Revolutionizes The Whole Company."
One can only hope, but I doubt that'll happen naturally. The overestimation of the performance of people at key positions, as well as the belief that these people can impact organization performance much in a positive way (it's easy to sink an ok-doing organization, it's nearly impossible to make it run much better by changing the decisions of one key person, the rest is coincidence and the work of the peons) is rooted deeply into human nature. I'm afraid that in 2030 we'll still have organizations paying people in key positions multi-million dollar/euro salaries.
Isn't it more likely that success comes to those who give millenials the illusion of control and autonomy within a hierarchical system? E.g. Google gets aggresive elites to be happy doing menial tasks.
For organizations with well-defined, verifiable goals, you can use decision markets. Even play-money decision markets - which basically award decision-making power to folks who make good decisions and are most willing to put their reputational currency on the line for them.
While we're fantasizing about alternate corporate structures that are nowhere in evidence, what do we actually want?
There's a power curve for skill, and it is typically going to make a corporation perform better if you put the best people in charge and get everyone else to row in the direction they specify.
Anecdotally, the more congenial efforts I've encountered have been poisoned by poor performance. You still have to make decisions for the group, and if you don't defer to the people who are best at it, you are going to make the decision some other way. You still have all the bitterness of people being outvoted, but now you are making worse decisions as well. It's not an improvement.
I laugh when I read those, too. The fundamental structure for most corporations, in the form of hierarchical and authoritarian command-economies-in-miniature, hasn't changed much at all. Why would the internal politics change?
If you want a more egalitarian company, you need a more egalitarian corporate structure, without the traditional bureaucratic hierarchy. Cooperatives that elect their managers (or elect to hire them, or elect people who hire them) might do that, although the larger the cooperative becomes, the more you'll start to see traditional power dynamics return.
In any case, what I'm really hoping for is that by 2030, we'll have busted the Myth of the Super CEO Who Revolutionizes The Whole Company. The amount of CEOs who do that is very, very small. It looks like things might be going that way, with CEO pay starting to tie closer to firm performance.