After attending two discussion forums this week, one could be excused for wondering what has really changed in 15 years? It was the same faces, even the same views being expressed. Even some of the arguments over the talent war were the same as per 1997.
On the one hand, possessing the same figures in leadership has brought stability but there is a major danger that the same narratives keep going round and nothing ever changes.
In the 2008-9 crash, only 1% extra of directors lost their jobs whilst 3m overall lost their livelihoods. The average ago of a CEO has risen to 62 and for a director to 58. Both up considerably in comparison to the past. Whatever ones views are, this can only serve to maintain the same truths, behaviours and attitudes.
Boards should seek to appoint two under 35 year olds so as to challenge the existing narrative and consider differing perspectives. Just because it is dominant, it does not mean it is correct. Why not bring on young voices who will bring something new to the discussion?
A senior player last week noted that corporates today prefer to control rather than empower. To reverse the skills drain, the challenge is to empower rather than control. The expert went on to note that ” everyone has an opinion today. Everyone is an expert but so few will be accountable? You try and get some senior players to be accountable; it can’t be done. We desperately need new blood eyeing opportunities so they knock some off their perches”
There are many who do agree that all business has become so controlled and so risk averse, that it drains all entrepreneurial spirit from executives. Leaders today struggle to find the authentic voice which so many call for. Hard to be authentic and inspirational when under constant pressure and in a controlled environment.
The challenge is to ensure all are challenged by fresh perspectives and voices. We need it.