Consumer products

New talent development model

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Consumer products executives tell us that talent is the most significant barrier to executing strategy.

Our recent report Disrupt or be Disrupted highlighted how the environment for consumer goods companies has changed dramatically. As our subsequent report Paradigm Shift shows, there are real concerns about the future of business leadership in the sector.

Consumer products companies need to rethink their approach to talent development to ensure that future leaders are equipped with the right skills and experience. This will require disruptive thinking.

Facing a leadership cliff

Consumer products companies are facing an imminent leadership crisis. For now, 82% of respondents from the sector agree that their current crop of leaders have the right attributes and experience to lead their organizations.

To what extent do you agree that your organization has the following aspects of leadership development in place?

But asked about the next generation of leaders, confidence drops dramatically, with only 43% saying that their organization has a strong pipeline of future leadership talent in place.

The experience and capabilities required for leadership positions are changing. Consumer products companies today want C-level executives with broad experience of different markets and business environments, and yet this is something that few companies seem able to develop.

Just 39% of respondents from the sector think they have future leaders with sufficiently diverse experience and backgrounds. 

Defining leadership capabilities for the Brand New Order

Deep industry expertise is recognized by consumer products respondents as the most important attribute for C-level leaders. This contrasts sharply with other sectors, where industry expertise lags behind most other attributes as a necessary asset.

What do you consider to be the three most important attributes for potential C-level leaders of your organization?

However, industry experience is not enough in an environment where many tried-and-tested ways of creating value are no longer fit for purpose. Business leaders also need to navigate uncertainty and develop a more facilitating, enabling style of management.

The ability to lead effectively in an international business environment is also essential. This emphasizes the need to ensure that high-potential executives have the opportunity to spend time in a variety of different markets to broaden their perspective.

Building “bench strength”

The need to revamp leadership development and succession planning is becoming increasingly pressing.

Which of the following actions does your organization need to take to ensure that it has the right leadership models to deal with complexity and change in the business environment?

Mobility across geographical borders should be seen as an essential part of high-potential talent development. Managers from rapid-growth markets, in particular, should be rotated and nurtured for future leadership roles.

Mobility between functions can help to broaden capabilities at a time when a fresh perspective is becoming increasingly valuable.



Business implications and responses

  • Rethink leadership development programs to ensure that they are equipping future business leaders with the right skills, experience and mindset
  • Assess regularly the next generation of business leaders to ensure that there is good “bench strength” in place
  • Encourage movement between functions to develop increased diversity of thinking
  • Rethink approaches to international mobility — and re-integration
  • Take a long-term approach to developing the next generation of leaders
  • Provide greater autonomy to local managers, but within a clear framework so that decisions take place within certain parameters and are aligned with the long-term vision of the company
  • Help managers develop the skills of the “herd” — so that they are aware of a common purpose, and can sense both risk and opportunity — and respond accordingly

 

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To what extent do you agree that your organization has the following aspects of leadership development in place?

×

Source: EY analysis of Economic Intelligence Unit research for Paradigm shift: building a new talent management model to boost growth.

What do you consider to be the three most important attributes for potential C-level leaders of your organization?

×

Source: EY analysis of Economic Intelligence Unit research for Paradigm shift: building a new talent management model to boost growth.

Which of the following actions does your organization need to take to ensure that it has the right leadership models to deal with complexity and change inthe business environment?

×

Source: EY analysis of Economic Intelligence Unit research for Paradigm shift: building a new talent management model to boost growth.