Developing the leaders of the future is key to success



The Insead Centre for Human Resources, a global leader for training business leaders based in the United States, has opened a branch in Abu Dhabi to help the fast-growing local market meet the demand for quality leadership in business.
The Centre for Executive Education and Research in Abu Dhabi has already launched its first series of open enrolment programmes that will be lead by Dr Stewart Black (pictured above), executive director of the Insead Centre for Human Resources in Asia.

The programmes will cover key management topics on leadership, people and performance management and finance. Black spoke to Emirates Business about the race to find the right business leaders for the right businesses around the world and in the region in particular.


Based on your global research, what are the key challenges in becoming a global leader?


My colleagues, Professors Allen Morrison and Hal Gregersen, and I recently completed a large study – 140 executives, 50 corporations – across the world to investigate what are the challenges for effective global leaders. The first thing we found was the style of leadership has changed significantly.

In the past 100 years, in most countries, the prevalent leadership style has been “command and control”. In this approach, each person is given a clearly specified job and is directly monitored and controlled by his or her boss.

However, as the global business has become more spread out, this is no longer possible. Therefore, global leaders now get things done through having the good will and trust of employees. Another challenge we found was the difficulty in finding the right balance between global integration and local responsiveness.
It is a fine balance that even Insead, an institution known as the business school for the world, struggles to get right.


How can leaders in the Middle East expand their influence and take on these challenges?


Middle East leaders need to develop the same capabilities mentioned above. In addition, there are important cultural and market specific differences that local leaders carry that help in getting the balance between global integration and social understanding correct.

Leadership is ultimately about results and about one’s ability to get through to others by setting direction, inspiring action, aligning resources and developing the capabilities of a team.


Why is maintaining the leadership pipeline so important?


In today’s fast-moving global business environment, effective human capital and knowledge management have moved from a ‘nice thing to do’ to a business critical task. This is particularly important in high-growth emerging markets such as the Middle East.

People join companies but leave bosses, and if the flow of the leadership pipeline from the first transition onwards is not right then this poses a great risk to the current and future business.

So the transition from individual contributor to manager of individual contributors is probably the most important and difficult transition and therefore needs to be managed carefully to insure the leadership flow is right from the beginning.


What types of programmes are required for the region for creating new business leaders?


In a fast growing region like the Middle East you need programmes that focus on strategic growth, leading people, global business and leading change.


The entire world is experiencing hard-hitting and high inflation. Is it due to failure on the part of decision-makers, and how can they control it?


Inflation comes when business activities are overheated. Overheating typically happens when money is too available for too long. This typically comes from interest rates that are too low or exchange rates that are not free and as a consequence certain currencies are undervalued.

Central banks can do some things to control interest rates and government can choose to let their currencies float freely, but no one can control the global economy. It is too big.


How do you see inflation impacting the education process that hopes to create a new generation of leaders?


I see little impact of moderate inflation on the education process because we have had lots of periods over the past 100 years of higher inflation and even now have places of hyper inflation.
We know a fair bit about what causes inflation, what actions actually make things worse, and what actions may cause short-term pain but deliver long-term gain.


Are there any plans to further expand the presence of Insead in the region with the opening of more centres in other GCC states?


Insead has no current plans to expand in the GCC beyond Abu Dhabi Centre. In addition to leading research initiatives on various business and social innovation topics in the region, currently the centre is attracting executives from across the region with open enrolment programmes running in Abu Dhabi as well as customised programmes for corporations taking place across the GCC. The Abu Dhabi Centre is therefore a regional  centre attracting executives from across the GCC and Arab world.



PROFILE: Dr Stewart Black, Executive Director, Insead Centre for Human Resources in Asia


Dr Stewart Black is associate dean for the executive development programme in the Americas and executive director of the Insead Centre for Human Resources in Asia (Ichra).
He is a leading instructor and scholar in strategy, change management, globalisation and leadership. He has consulted with and done seminars for a variety of international firms, including Amcor, American Express, Black & Decker and Boeing.
Dr Black is the co-author of a top-selling textbook, Management: Meeting New Challenges, and 10 other books. He will be leading Insead's first open enrolment programme in Abu Dhabi that will take place from April 21 to 24.