A few days ago I read an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review, - Empathy Is Still Lacking in the Leaders Who Need It Most, - by Ernest Wilson, Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). The article is based on the Third Space, a research project to better understand the key competencies companies are looking for, and whether these talent requirements are being adequately addressed by universities.
The study conducted face-to-face, in-depth conversations with dozens of senior executives across companies in a broad range of industries and consulted with a number of other academic institutions. It gathered additional data through online surveys and partnered with Korn Ferry, - the world’s largest executive search firm, - which gave them access to data on almost 1,900 executives with a broad range of professional backgrounds.
Their initial findings were published in a working paper, The one-trillion dollar global talent gap: What it is and what we can do about it. Their research discovered that talent is the greatest competitive challenge companies face. More specifically, beyond the traditional skills typically provided by engineering and business schools, companies need a new kind of talent that is currently undersupplied in the workforce.
Future leaders must be strong in quantitative, technical and business skills. But these must be complemented with a unique set of attitudes, perspectives, experiences and other so called softer skills. Good leaders need to be good strategic thinkers and must have strong social and communications skills. Finding and retaining talented individuals with these capabilities is a challenge regardless of geography or industry.