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Harvard Business Publishing Survey Reveals Striking Lack of Confidence in Leadership Capability of Global Organizations

Boston, MA (PRWEB) September 09, 2013

Global executives are suffering from a crisis of confidence. According to a survey by Harvard Business Publishing, their leaders lack the skills to achieve strategic goals, and the need to develop stronger leadership capability extends to middle managers, who are being asked to do more than ever before.

Harvard Business Publishing’s global survey of executives and senior talent development professionals in prominent organizations reveals a striking deficit in leadership talent. Only 32% of the 800+ respondents believe that their organizations have the right leadership talent and skills to achieve their organizations’ strategic goals. Just 31% are confident their leaders have the right leadership skills to cope with the current business environment.

Leadership Development Goals and Hurdles
Leadership development is increasingly viewed as a strategic lever for organizations. 43% of the talent development professionals surveyed say that the most significant goal for leadership development is to drive business transformation – ahead of building more general management capability at all levels (24%) and accelerating the leadership pipeline (21%).

40% of respondents see getting participants to commit time away from their job to participate as the most difficult challenge to initiating a new leadership development initiative. Time away from work, not budget constraints is the biggest factor stalling the success of such programs. Just 24% cited budget constraints as their biggest hurdle.

Strong Focus to Develop Middle Managers
Prior research has shown that middle management is increasingly the driving force behind many corporate initiatives, and yet, this group is historically underserved by leadership development programs. There is now a strong focus (80%) on middle managers needing to develop change management capabilities. Respondents also see leadership mindset (77%), communication skills (76%), talent management (76%), and broad general management capability (64%) as development priorities for middle managers.

“The survey results mirror what we see with our clients. Executives face a huge challenge. They need their leaders to help drive transformation of their business, but these very leaders need to be transformed as well. The question is how, especially when you think of the scale that’s needed,” Ray Carvey, executive vice president of corporate learning and international, at Harvard Business Publishing, said. “With the new model of virtual leadership development, organizations can now reach many more leaders, including middle managers or those in distant locations who may not have had development opportunities like this before.”

While the survey found that face time with instructors and mentors is still important, increasing comfort with a wide variety of technologies is paving the way for greater adoption of virtual programs. For example, 65% are familiar to extremely familiar with web conferencing and online meeting software. 27% are equally familiar with MOOCs (Massive, Open, Online Courses).

Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning has first-hand knowledge of this shift in how corporate leadership development is delivered. The company has seen 70% growth for its Leadership Direct program, a blended virtual approach that helps build leadership capability across much larger and geographically distributed populations. Leadership Direct program clients are able to customize learning modules that focus on essential areas such as strategy, innovation, customer orientation, business acumen, and other critically important topics. In the past year alone, more than 2,000 leaders from 70 countries on 6 continents have participated in the programs.

About Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning
Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning partners with clients to create world-class leadership development solutions for managers at all levels. We leverage the management insight, thought leadership, and expertise of Harvard Business School faculty and authors from Harvard Business Review to create tailored leadership development solutions. With more than 20 years of practical experience, our innovative, technology-enabled solutions drive meaningful and lasting business results. Corporate Learning is a market group within Harvard Business Publishing. For more information, visit

Follow us on Twitter and connect with other talent development leaders on LinkedIn through the Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning Group.

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