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Global Leadership: Developing Tomorrows Leaders around the World

Katherine Jones, Ph.D.,


Principal Analyst

Karen OLeonard,
Principal Analyst

Josh Bersin,
Principal Analyst September 2012

BERSIN & A SSOCIATES RESEA RCH REPORT | V. 1. 0

Global Leadership

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Global Leadership

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction 4 Executive Summary Global Leadership: The Challenge for Economic Growth Understanding Differences in Leadership Styles
Four Primary Functions of a Leader

6 8 10
11

How Todays Leaders Differ by Country


Developing the Vision Sharing the Goals Gaining Support Delivering Success

14
14 17 19 22

Learning to Lead
Developing Leadership Competencies Understanding the Differences

26
27 28

Conclusion: Investing for Global Agility Appendix I: Research Methodology


How the Data Was Analyzed

32 36
38

Appendix II: Leadership Competencies Appendix III: Table of Figures

40 41

About Us About This Research

42 42

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Introduction
With the recession starting to wane, organizations now cite improving leadership bench strength1 as one of their most pressing issues and the problem is now global. Companies in all industries (manufacturing, consumer products, technology, business services and others) are rapidly expanding product and service strategies into emerging economies yet they do not always know how to build the right leadership in these geographies. An executive at a large Canadian bank explained the issue. Our biggest business opportunities are in South America and Europe, yet all our executives are Canadian. How can we develop the right leaders to grow in these geographies? When business and HR leaders address this challenge, they find several daunting problems. Our research set out to help organizations meet these challenges by focusing on the following key questions. Do general leadership styles vary from country to country? If so, in what ways?
KEY POINT
To understand differences in leadership styles, our analysis included assessment data from leaders in 10 countries.

If corporations seek leaders with specific strengths, where are they likely to locate them? What are the implications for leadership development programs for a global workforce? Here, we investigate some of the leadership styles that typically reflect the ways in which leaders in different countries approach the world of work. To answer these questions, we analyzed assessment data from executives, midlevel and first-level managers in 10 countries. Each country was selected based on the size of its economy and the availability of data, ensuring that we had an adequate sample from which to draw valid conclusions. The assessment data was provided by SHL, a global leader in managerial and occupational assessment, based on the companys

Bench strength refers to the capabilities and readiness of potential successors to

move into key professional and leadership positions.

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behavioral competencies for effective leadership. Our methodology, along with the competencies evaluated, is described in more detail in the appendices at the end of this report.

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Executive Summary
KEY POINT
Due to differences in styles across countries, a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership development will not effectively meet all needs.

One size does not fit all in global leadership development. The skills sets and competencies of leaders in different countries vary; those variations have ramifications for corporate leadership development and talent strategies. The demands on leadership are both transactional (focused on operations and execution) and transformational (focused on inspiring and setting direction). Competencies to address both sets of demands are needed, yet they are not often balanced in most individuals or across leadership teams. Our research uncovered the following key takeaways, which are explained in more depth throughout this report. 1. Leadership competencies vary by country. Our research shows that leaders in some countries, such as India and China, are strong in operational effectiveness and execution. These leaders are adept at analyzing complex information and delivering results through careful planning and organization. In other countries, such as Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, leaders have a stronger visionary and transformational style. These leaders are strategic thinkers, and deliver results through innovation and persuasive communication. As a result, a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership development will not effectively meet all needs. Companies must understand these differences and target leadership programs to build a diverse set of skills.

KEY POINT
Leaders in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands are stronger in strategic thinking and persuasive communication.

2. Leaders in global companies must respect their individual differences. For example, a U.S. manager, with a business-driver style focused on results, may frustrate a Chinese manager who is accustomed to a more flexible, unstructured approach and who prefers to build the relationship before committing to the task. In a global organization, leaders must recognize their differences and learn to work together for the ultimate good of the company. 3. Companies should also consider differences in individual competencies when positioning key talent. Highly skilled operational managers are less likely to succeed in roles in which highly transformational talent is needed and vice versa.

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Global Leadership

KEY POINT
A U.S. manager with a business-driver style may frustrate managers accustomed to a more flexible, unstructured approach.

4. Furthermore, companies following an expatriate model to fill leadership positions in their overseas operations should carefully review this strategy. Due in part to differences in leadership style and cultural awareness, the expatriate model is coming under increasing scrutiny. Many companies now think it better to hire and develop the skills of local leaders, rather than deploy expatriates with different styles and cultural norms. 5. Finally, our findings have implications for talent acquisition as corporations evaluate what makes successful leaders and strive to ensure a diversity of styles in their leadership teams. We recommend that recruiters and hiring managers assess candidates for the right skills sets to succeed in that particular environment.

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Global Leadership

Global Leadership: The Challenge for Economic Growth


Todays leaders are under a microscope and face a daunting set of complex business issues. With the current economic volatility, and the speed of social and technological change, the challenges facing leaders are greater than ever. The pressure is heightened by the worldwide visibility of failed leadership in the press and through social media. The greatest business opportunities and also the greatest challenges are global and demand leaders who can move the company forward in the face of these challenges. (See Figure 1).

Figure 1: Todays Talent Challenges KEY POINT


Many companies now think it better to hire and develop the skills of local leaders, rather than relocate expatriates who have different styles and cultural norms.

54 percent of CEOs say their research and development efforts were hampered by talent shortages 45 percent claim they missed market opportunities 41 percent attribute below-target performance to talent of insufficient quality
Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2012.2

Unfortunately, todays leaders frequently lack skills in global business acumen, cultural awareness and understanding of new markets. They are often even less prepared to manage a diverse set of employees, customers and partners around the globe. When opening new operations, many companies deploy expatriates to staff these positions. But the expatriate model is coming under increasing scrutiny; while this strategy has in some cases been successful, in many it has not. Many companies now think that it is better to hire and develop the skills of local leaders, rather than deploy expatriates with different styles and cultural norms. For example, one global foods company we interviewed realized the failings of the expatriate model and changed its approach. The

2 Source: Delivering results: Growth and value in a volatile world, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2012, http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo-survey/index.jhtml.

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companys goal is now to fill 80 percent of its management and leadership positions overseas with native-born individuals, and develop them with the necessary skills sets. For these reasons, leadership development is once again on the front burner. In a renewed effort to build leadership capabilities, companies are now investing more in leadership development than they have in years.3 In the U.S., organizations increased their leadership development investments by 14 percent this year. With this increased investment, we estimate that U.S. companies will spend $13.6 billion on leadership development in 2012. Companies need to make sure that they are investing wisely. Leaders differ in skills sets and styles, and any development solution must be customized to accommodate these differences. Our next section provides an overview of leadership styles and the competencies we analyzed.

For more information, TalentTrends 2012: A Year of Guarded Optimism, Bersin &

Associates / Kim Lamoureux and Josh Bersin, July 2012. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library.

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Understanding Differences in Leadership Styles


KEY POINT
Keywords for managers are control, organize and plan. For leaders, keywords are create, inspire, motivate and transform.

Leaders emerge in organizations regardless of job title. Leaders may be managers, managers may be leaders but it is clear that the competencies associated with management as opposed to leadership can be very different. One way to look at the differences, as proposed by John Kotter, is shown in Figure 2.4 This model defines management primarily in terms of effective execution and operations. Leadership, in contrast, creates the systems and processes, and changes them to take advantage of opportunities and to avoid hazards.

Figure 2: Kotters Differences between Management and Leadership Function Definition Process Responsibility Planning and budgeting Organizing and staffing Controlling and problem-solving Taking complex systems of people and technology, and making them repeatedly run efficiently and effectively Creating vision and strategy Communicating and setting direction Motivating action Aligning people Creating systems that managers can manage, and transforming them when needed to allow for growth, evolution, opportunities and hazard avoidance
Source: Bersin & Associates, 2012.5

Management

Makes systems of people and technology work well day after day, week after week, year after year

Creates the systems that managers manage, and changes them in fundamental ways to take advantage of opportunities and avoid hazards

Leadership

4 Source: Force For Change: How Leadership Differs from Management, The Free Press / John P. Kotter, 1990. 5 Source: This chart is based on the work of John Kotter, http://www.kotterinternational.com/.

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Clearly, a winning corporate strategy has to include both skills sets in its leadership ranks in order to be successful. Balance is key lopsided skills clusters do not lead to success. Kotter maps the results of too much and too little of these yin-yang requirements, demonstrating that companies with an overabundance of managers lose agility and cannot adapt to changes, while an overabundance of innovative leaders can cause instability and chaos. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3: The Results of Imbalance between Management and Leadership Skills

High Competency

Innovative, adaptive, energetic, but if an organization is large it can be on the edge of chaos.

Leadership

Meets todays commitments to stakeholders superbly while also adapting to make the enterprise stronger for the future.

The enterprise will soon go out of business unless it is a monopoly.

Solid company if it has high market share, but bureaucratic and controlling unable to adapt to a changing environment.

Low Competency

Management

High Competency
Source: John Kotter, 2012.6

Basic

Four Primary Functions of a Leader


KEY POINT
Leaders who are visionary, inspirational and advocates of change are strong on transformational competencies.

We used a similar model of competencies, developed and validated by SHL, to study the differences in leaders. The SHL model provides a balanced view of both transactional and transformational competencies; it distinguishes between leaders who inspire, promoting change and business success (e.g., transformational) and those who excel at operational management, maintaining a steady-state environment
6 Source: Force For Change: How Leadership Differs from Management, The Free Press / John P. Kotter, 1990, http://www.kotterinternational.com/kotterprinciples/ management-vs-leadership.

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deftly (e.g., transactional). Both types of talent are necessary likely at different times and in different locales. Some leaders are strong on both traits; some are not. HR professionals will need to ascertain the current capabilities and potential of their leaders within their talent pipelines. The grounds for comparison are the four main functions of a leader: Developing a vision Sharing goals Gaining support Delivering success Each function is comprised of a transformational and a transactional competency. (See Figure 4.) For example, to develop a vision, transformational leaders rely on their creativity and strategic-thinking capabilities, whereas transactional managers analyze information and apply their expertise. These are two extremes most leaders may have a balance of these traits. The next section reviews leadership capabilities in the 10 countries researched (Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.K and the U.S.) on each of these four functions.

KEY POINT
The four main functions of a leader are the ability to develop a vision, share goals, gain support and deliver success.

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Figure 4: Competency Model Factors for Management versus Leadership Focus Competencies Leadership Function Definition This involves the critical analysis of the current situation, and the generation of ideas to move forward (Strategy). This involves persuasively communicating the vision to others, as well as personally adapting to the changes that the new strategy brings (Communication). This involves gaining other peoples support by motivating and empowering them to implement the actions needed to deliver the strategy (People). This involves using operational efficiency and commercial acumen to effectively implement the strategy (Operations). Management Focus (Transactional) Analyzing & Interpreting Analyzing complex information and applying expertise. Adapting & Coping Responding and adapting well to change and pressure. Leadership Focus (Transformational) Creating & Conceptualizing Producing innovative ideas and thinking strategically. Interacting & Presenting Communicating with, persuading and influencing others.

Developing the Vision

Sharing the Goals

Supporting & Co-operating Supporting other and working effectively with people. Organizing & Executing Planning, working in an organized manner and focusing on delivery.

Leading & Deciding Initiating action, giving direction and taking responsibility.

Gaining Support

Enterprising & Performing Focusing on results and on achieving goals.

Delivering Success

Source: SHL 2012.

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How Todays Leaders Differ by Country


KEY POINT
To be successful, a leadership team requires both transformational and transactional capabilities.

Leaders display different styles or behavioral postures across the 10 countries we studied. Here, we look at the differences in transactional and transformational styles among these leaders as reflected by their competency data. We segment our analysis by the four leadership functions discussed in the previous section: Developing a vision Sharing goals to achieve that vision Gaining and maintaining support to realize the vision Delivering success

KEY POINT
Visionary leaders have stronger propensities in creativity, innovation and strategic thinking.

To succeed in each one of these functions, leadership teams require both transformational and transactional capabilities. Note that all comparisons are solely an indication of relative style preferences across countries. Clearly, all leaders within a country do not share the same style or exhibit the same behaviors. Our analysis represents the average among all leaders studied in each country.

Developing the Vision


Developing a vision involves a critical analysis of the current situation and generating ideas to move forward with a cogent strategy. For a transactional leader, the focus may be on carefully analyzing data and applying well-proven methods. For a transformational leader (the visionary), the focus may be on creativity and the innovative production of ideas. In organizational growth, developing a vision is the first stage. Leaders need to analyze the facts and identify areas with the greatest need for change. They also need to establish a mission, develop an appealing and convincing image of the future, and outline the strategy by which it can be achieved.

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True visionaries excel at creating the ideas and concepts that move the organization forward. Visionary leaders tend to have stronger propensities in creativity, innovation and strategic thinking. These leaders excel in developing a vision for the organization, while critically evaluating the facts, as well as for creating the ideas and concepts that move the organization forward. They are at their best in roles in which the strategy requires a fundamental change and out-of-the-box thinking. Running a successful global company requires solid in-the-box thinking and planning, as well. Analyzing and correctly interpreting facts on which to make decisions (a tendency among leaders thought of as conservators) is clearly a critical part of business execution. Transactional or operational excellence may, but often does not, reside in the same leader as transformational excellence. In this case, it is important to have both visionaries and conservators on the leadership team. We reviewed how the executives, midlevel and first-level managers assessed in the 10 countries compare, on average, in their approaches to developing their corporate visions. (See Figure 5.)

Figure 5: Developing the Vision

Leadership Function: Developing the Vision Key Competencies:


Analyzing complex information and applying expertise. Producing innovative ideas and thinking strategically.

Analyzing & Interpreting Creating & Conceptualizing

Visionary vs. Conservator

Key Style Differences:

Visionaries focus on new concepts, ideas and where the organization could be.
Conservators focus on pragmatism and what already works.

Conservator
Norway Sweden Denmark U.S. Australia India China U.K.

Visionary
Netherlands Belgium

Source: : Bersin & Associates, 2012; data source: SHL, 2012.

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The findings reveal differences in how managers and executives develop a vision for the organization. Extrapolated from their assessments, the range includes leaders who are more pragmatic (conservators) and leaders who are prone to new ideas and possibilities (visionaries). (See Figure 6.)

Figure 6: Definitions Developing the Vision7 Leadership Style Definition Conservators thrive in environments where they can continue to use well-proven methods and discourage incompatible ideas. They are less inclined toward qualitative analysis, and typically apply established methods and ways of working to resolve practical problems and maintain the status quo. Visionaries excel in developing a vision for the organization while critically evaluating the facts, and creating the ideas and concepts that move the organization forward. However, in certain contexts, they may be inclined to overanalyze a situation and to overlook positive aspects of the status quo.
Source: SHL 2012.

Conservator

Visionary

A pragmatic or conservator approach to developing a vision appears to dominate in the Nordic regions. Leaders in Norway, Sweden and Denmark are more likely to thrive in environments in which they can continue to use well-proven methods to move the organization forward. These leaders are most comfortable in resolving practical problems and maintaining the status quo.
KEY POINT
A visionary style is best demonstrated by leaders from the Netherlands and Belgium.

A visionary style is best demonstrated by leaders from the Netherlands and Belgium. These leaders excel in developing a vision for the organization by critically evaluating the facts, and creating the ideas and concepts. They are at their best in roles in which the strategy requires a fundamental change and out-of-the-box thinking. One example is Layar, a Dutch provider of augmented reality technology. Layar has been at the forefront of this technology, which provides smartphone users with an array of information on their mobile screens such as the location of the nearest metro station or the most deserted

Note that these terms, while making sense for an individual, can only partially

portray the leadership tendencies for an entire nation. Figure 5 shows averages across the broad range of leadership styles and should not be the basis for assumptions about any given individual.

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beach. The companys CEO saw an opportunity to make augmented reality part of every life long before most people could even grasp the concept. Through this visionary leadership, Layar is now poised to crack open this emerging technology market and has been named to CNBC Magazines list of Europes 25 Most Creative Companies.8 Leaders in other countries (the U.S., Australia, India, China and the U.K.) exhibit a fairly balanced mix of styles. Their preferences may lean toward a flexible approach to problem-solving, and a level of comfort alternating between new and more tried-and-tested approaches.

Sharing the Goals


Leaders need to communicate their visions and goals. In doing so, they adapt their interpersonal style to persuade and influence others to accept and internalize those goals. Leaders also need to respond positively to changes in organizational mission and cope effectively with the increased pressure resulting from change. The transactional manager is likely to be more agile at dealing with change and responding to pressure, while the transformational leader is more adept at communicating, persuading and influencing others. In our study, leaders in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands demonstrate the competencies that help them to inspire others to share the organizations vision and goals. These leaders, referred to as change ambassadors, are at their best in high-profile roles in which they need to influence key stakeholders (see Figures 7 and 8).
KEY POINT
More leaders in India and the U.S. fit the adjuster style positive about change, but less outwardly passionate about it.

One former American executive, the late Steve Jobs, is an example of an inspirational change ambassador. Jobs had the gift of being able to inspire his employees to accomplish incredible goals. He created an abiding passion in Apple employees to create ground-breaking products and a belief that they could accomplish what seemed impossible. One engineer recounted a story of working on a new development project. The team expected to take weeks to have a prototype ready, but Jobs challenged them to complete it in one week a seemingly impossible task. Miraculously, the team pulled off the feat. The employee explained

Source: Europes 25 Most Creative Companies, July 2010,

http://www.cnbcmagazine.com/story/europeas-25-most-creative-companies/1182/2/.

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that somehow, when Jobs said it could be done, they believed they could do it.9 Adjusters are positive about change as well, but may be less outwardly passionate about it. A greater number of leaders in India and the U.S. fit this style, in which individuals behavioral postures may tend to be more socially reserved. These leaders focus on the positive aspects of the vision and strategy, and respond well to challenges.

Figure 7: Sharing the Goals

Leadership Function: Sharing the Goals Key Competencies:


Responding and adapting well to change and pressure. Communicating with, persuading and influencing others.

Adapting & Coping Interacting & Presenting

Change Ambassador vs. Adjuster

Key Style Differences:

Ambassadors emphasize socializing decisions, goals and the vision.


Adjusters are less focused on persuading others to buy-in to decisions and goals.

Adjuster
India U.S. Belgium Australia China U.K. Norway

Change Ambassador
Netherlands Sweden Denmark

Source: : Bersin & Associates, 2012; data source: SHL, 2012.

9 Source: Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson / Simon & Schuster, 2011.

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Figure 8: Definitions Sharing the Goals Leadership Style Definition Change Ambassadors inspire others to share the organizations new vision and goals. They relate to others in a confident and relaxed manner, enjoy public speaking and network effectively. Change Ambassadors flourish on pressure and change, projecting confidence and providing reassurance to others. However, they may underestimate the personal challenges experienced by others in adapting to change. Adjusters focus on the positive aspects of the new vision and strategy, and respond well to the challenges it brings. However, being private and socially reserved, they may not effectively share their positive outlook and miss opportunities to persuade and influence others. They prefer not to be the center of attention and may dislike public speaking.
Source: SHL 2012.

Change Ambassador

Adjustor

Gaining Support
Leaders need to gain other peoples support in achieving organizational goals motivating others and empowering them to take ownership of the actions needed to achieve the required objectives. This means taking decisive action and accepting responsibility a transformational competency. It also requires supporting others and working effectively with people a transactional competency. In gaining support, one leadership style is that of the individualist. These leaders are more strongly focused on the task-related than the people-related aspects of the job. Individualists are open in expressing their own opinions and may adopt an independent advisory role within the group. In this study, more leaders in India and the U.S. fit this individualist style.
KEY POINT
Leaders in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark tend toward a people-leader style.

People leaders, in contrast, are more oriented toward listening to and motivating others. Their people-oriented approach, combined with their natural tendency to take responsibility, enables them to build trust and empower others to achieve their goals. Leaders in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark tend toward the people-leader style. Indeed, as countries with strong egalitarian values, decisions are often made by consensus across teams. As evidence of their people orientation, Swedish executives generally do not dress more

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elaborately than average employees10 and their pay is not so inflated, as compared with the employee base (as compared with other countries, such as the U.S. and the U.K.).11 Consequently, these leaders are able to build trust and support among the workforce. (See Figures 9 and 10.)

Figure 9: Gaining Support

Leadership Function: Gaining Support Key Competencies:


Supporting others and working effectively with people. Initiating action, giving direction and taking responsibility. People leaders are oriented toward listening to others, building trust and empowering others to achieve goals. Individualists have a stronger task focus and express their opinions freely.

Supporting & Cooperating Leading & Deciding

People Leader vs. Individualist

Key Style Differences:

Individualist
India U.S. U.K. Australia Belgium China

People Leader
Denmark Netherlands Norway Sweden

Source: : Bersin & Associates, 2012; data source: SHL, 2012.

10 Source: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/sweden.html. 11 Source: Sweden, where CEOs come cheap and still deliver, Reuters / Niklas Pollard, June 14, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/14/ us-sweden-executives-salaries-idUSBRE85D0R920120614.

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Figure 10: Definitions Gaining Support Leadership Style Definition People leaders listen to other peoples views and are astute at judging how best to motivate and empower others. They naturally prefer to take control, initiate action and exercise leadership. Their people-focused approach, combined with a ready acceptance of responsibility, helps them gain other peoples trust. They may find it difficult, however, to make tough decisions which have a negative impact on others. Individualists are more strongly focused on task-related than on people-related aspects of the job. They prefer not to engage with the personal concerns of others and tend not to act in a directive manner. They are open to expressing their own opinions and may seek to take an independent advisory role within the group.
Source: SHL 2012.

People Leader

Individualist

The following case in point describes how Danish manufacturer Grundfos exemplifies a people-approach to leadership.

Case in Point: A People Orientation at Grundfos


Grundfos is a global leader in advanced pump solutions and water technology. Founded more than 60 years ago, Grundfos does business in dozens of countries around the world. Its continuous growth (revenues grew almost 10 percent last year despite the recession) has been fueled by strong company values sustainability, open and trustworthy, focused on people, independent, partnership, and relentlessly ambitious. These qualities come from the Nordic culture of global growth and longterm sustainability. The companys talent engine, the name of its talent management approach, focuses on growing people at all levels. One talent initiative launched recently involves creating new standards for Grundfos leadership. The initiative was kicked off with a co-creation workshop, for which 40 leaders from around the world were invited to share their thoughts, inspiration and practices from diverse vantage points in the organization. The purpose of the initiative is to bring leadership in Grundfos to

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Case in Point: A People Orientation at Grundfos (contd) another level, supporting the companys high ambitions for the future, and its ability to attract and develop great people. e

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Delivering Success
Results matter. Identifying individuals who can actually deliver success is an important aspect of leadership development and succession planning. The effective implementation of strategy requires both solid organizational and operational skills (transactional capabilities), as well as a keen focus on results and achievement (transformational capabilities). One leadership style for delivering success is that of the idealist. These leaders prefer to address issues flexibly and may be uncomfortable with a more structured approach. Idealists are less driven by the need for personal recognition and competition. Their steady pace and flexible styles allow them to deliver solid results.
KEY POINT
Leaders with an idealist style prefer to address issues flexibly and may be uncomfortable with a more structured approach.

A greater number of leaders in China and the Netherlands fit with the idealist style. With a focus on steady improvement, this style can prove successful in running a mature business. As an example, Chinese personal computer manufacturer Lenovo improved its operations dramatically through system improvements and better supply-chain management. When Lenovo took over the business from IBM, only 60 percent of orders were delivered on time. Through an updated management system, which allows employees to see the progress of orders as they go through the factory lines and shipping, that number now reaches as high as 90 percent. The new infrastructure also helped to cut logistics and overhead costs by 50 percent since the acquisition.12 Another style of leadership in delivering success is known as the business driver. These leaders have a greater focus on achieving their objectives and on career advancement. They identify and act on new opportunities by working energetically in a systematic and organized

12

Source: How Lenovo Pulled the Plug on IBMs Legacy, Joel

Schectman, August 7, 2012, http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/08/07/ how-lenovo-pulled-the-plug-on-ibm%E2%80%99s-legacy/?mod=google_news_blog.

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manner. They are generally respected for running the operation smoothly and efficiently.

Figure 11: Delivering Success

Leadership Function: Delivering Success


Organizing & Executing Enterprising & Performing

Key Competencies:

Planning, working in an organized manner and focusing on delivery. Focusing on results and on achieving goals. Business drivers focus on results, achieving goals and career advancement. Idealists focus on flexibility and approaching tasks at a steady pace.

Business Driver vs. Idealist

Key Style Differences:

Idealist

Business Driver

Netherlands

China

Belgium

Australia

U.K.

Denmark

Sweden

Norway

U.S.

India

Source: : Bersin & Associates, 2012; data source: SHL, 2012.

Figure 12: Definitions Delivering Success Leadership Style Definition Idealists prefer to address issues flexibly. They derive satisfaction from applying steady effort to the task at hand and may find it uncomfortable and constraining to adopt a more structured approach. They are less driven by competition, or by the need for personal recognition, which means they may fail to capitalize on potential commercial opportunities. However, their steady pace and flexible style provides a counterbalance to more intense approaches. Business drivers focus on results, achievement of personal work goals and career advancement. This may also mean that they show a strong interest in business, commerce and finance. They identify and act upon new opportunities by working energetically in a systematic and organized manner. While they may sometimes become preoccupied with detail, they are generally respected for running the organization smoothly and efficiently.
Source: SHL 2012.

Idealist

Business Driver

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One potential drawback of the business-driver style is that the quest for achievement may lead to a focus on short-term results and overshadow the long-term needs of the corporation. A study by Harvard Business School showed that companies which were focused on short-term results had more volatile stock returns and were riskier investments.13 American business leaders have long been criticized for this tendency, which some say helped to plunge the U.S. into its recent financial meltdown. Certain industries tend to have different styles, with banking, business services and electronics tending to a shorter-term focus, while pharmaceuticals, retail and beverage manufacturers focusing more on the long term. As long as future needs are not sacrificed for short-term gains, a resultsoriented approach is a positive aspect of leadership and, indeed, is necessary to deliver success. As demonstrated in the next case in point, Seagate is one company that has achieved success with a focus on results and execution. The company is now supplementing that style with greater flexibility and focus on teamwork, blending both transactional and transformational competencies.

Case in Point: Seagate Fosters a HighPerformance Culture


With operations in more than 30 countries, Seagate is a leading provider of hard drives and data-storage technologies. For years, the company has been run with a high-performance culture focusing all employees on commitment and execution. Seagate pioneered the use of an integrated goal and development process, and was an early user of HR talent management software. Each year, more than 95 percent of its employees define their goals and create individual development plans. These goals are aligned all the way up to the CEO creating a tremendous amount of visibility and accountability. Goals are reset each year, and employees continuously focus on their achievement within a culture of performance and accountability. This type of leadership and management structure

13

Source: The High Risks of Short-term Management, Harvard Business School / Sean

Silverthorne, April 11, 2012, http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6965.html.

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Global Leadership
Case in Point: Seagate Fosters a High-Performance Culture (contd) reflects a style of fast growth, high performance and disciplined execution. Recognizing significant changes in the industry, Seagate is currently undergoing a cultural transformation supplementing its focus on rigorous execution and engineering discipline with more flexibility in decision-making and an emphasis on teamwork. As part of this effort, Seagate has revised its key competencies, and is conducting workshops for directors and senior leaders. During the workshops, leaders discuss the current culture and the desired state. In addition, leaders complete an assessment that reveals how their individual style is aligned to the desired culture. Leaders then learn 10 leadership tools for promoting a more teamwork-oriented culture. Before completing the workshop, participants create development plans and commitment forms, and are held accountable for their completion. More in-depth sessions are offered throughout the year to reinforce development and sustain the change in culture. Seagates ability to reshape its leadership style and culture in response to environmental influences is one key to its continued success in a hypercompetitive market. e

25

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Learning to Lead
As demonstrated in the preceding sections, leaders in the 10 countries studied exhibit different preferences relating to the transformational and transactional competencies. Transformational leaders think strategically, generating innovative ideas. They are adept at communicating and influencing others to follow their vision. They gain support by taking decisive action and providing direction, and achieve their goals by focusing on results. In short, these leaders transform their organizations through innovation, drive and persuasive communication. One Danish company, AP Moller-Maersk, is an example of an organization with a flair for transformational leadership. Founded in 1904, Maersk is one of the worlds most successful transportation, energy, manufacturing and retail companies. One key to Maersks longterm sustainability is through its leadership. Leaders are selected and evaluated using assessments, and then developed over many years. Rotational assignments throughout the various businesses help leaders to gain a global understanding of the marketplace. People development, innovation, growth and performance are highly valued at Maersk, and have become part of the corporate culture. These values reflect the companys focus on transformational leadership and long-term success. At the other end of the spectrum, transactional leaders typically have a strong focus on operational effectiveness and execution. They are adept at analyzing complex information and applying their expertise to develop a strategy. They deliver results through careful planning, organization and a focus on delivery. One example is Indias Reliance Industries, which has achieved impressive results through its commitment to operational excellence. Within a short span of just more than three decades, Reliance Industries has emerged as Indias first private company to break into the FORTUNE Global 500 list. To achieve its significant growth, Reliance focuses heavily on both innovative leadership and technical execution. The company relies on the Six Sigma14 business strategy, encouraging managers at all levels to focus

14

Six Sigma is a rigorous, focused, high-impact process that uses proven quality

principles and techniques to reduce process variance. For more information on Six Sigma, please visit http://www.isixsigma.com, which offers articles and easy-to-read examples of how to apply Six Sigma to any business process.

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on quality and operational excellence. The leaderships continuous focus on results, without compromising operational efficiency, has created a $66 billion company and Indias largest private sector employer.

Developing Leadership Competencies


KEY POINT
When looking at the differences in leaders behaviors, many people ask, Can leaders change their styles?

When looking at the differences in leaders behaviors, many people ask, Can leaders change their styles? The short answer is, Yes, to a certain extent. An individuals main tendencies (or behavioral posture) are likely to stay fairly constant and are typically the fallback position when under stress. But leaders can modify behaviors over time. Understanding the makeup and potential of a leader helps organizations to identify where development is needed and the extent of that development. Whether leaders respond to the learning intervention depends on how motivated individual leaders are to achieve their career goals and the degree of change required. Too many global companies try to roll out a standard development initiative around the world, not taking into account the differences in styles and skills sets across leaders. While some common components, such as organizational values and corporate mission, may apply around the globe, others will need to be customized at the local level. Once the necessary skills are defined, developing them is, of course, the next challenge. As described in the following case in point, Mars pinpointed specific development needs among its Asian management teams and then created an initiative to build these capabilities.

Case in Point: Mars Creates Asia Leadership Forum


KEY POINT
Mars initiative has helped to build stronger capabilities among its Asian management teams.

Mars is one of the worlds leading food manufacturers, with 70,000 associates in more than 65 countries. Over the past five years, the company has increased its investment in leadership development to strengthen its talent across regional operations. Since Asia is a key growth market, one of Mars initiatives is to build a strong talent pipeline across this region.

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Global Leadership
Case in Point: Mars Creates Asia Leadership Forum (contd) To this end, Mars launched its Asia Leadership Forum, a series of development experiences, learning events and networking opportunities for management teams in China, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. The initiative was designed to build stronger ties across countries, uncover the major challenges facing each market and provide inspiration to drive a new set of behaviors around how to win in the region. The first session, held in Hong Kong, focused almost entirely on uncovering the business opportunities in each market by building skills in breakthrough thinking. The second session concentrated on networking to strengthen personal ties across the region. Through a network analysis, it became clear that the ties across the region were weak, with information flowing through only a few key individuals. Mars leaders were not using the diversity of knowledge within the region in the most effective manner. The goal of the networking event was to build a strong sense of community and to share practices across the region. In the final part of the program, each countrys team presented a story of growth and opportunity to some of Mars highest-ranking executives. The goal of these sessions was to create greater visibility and understanding of the value of increased investment in the region. As a result of the initiative, Mars now has a better understanding of the business needs and growth opportunities in the region. In addition, leaders have a greater sense of confidence around their capabilities and in the support from top management for their future direction. The initiative has helped to build stronger networks of leaders who have a shared ownership in the journey. e

28

Understanding the Differences


Before designing a development solution, organizations need to assess leaders to understand their current strengths and gaps. We would also advise HR leaders to develop an understanding of different countries and cultures, which will aid them in designing effective solutions. Our

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years of research in global organizations lend some insights into why leadership styles vary from one country to another.

Culture and History


Native-born leaders have been immersed in the history and culture of their homeland their entire lives. They learn values and see behaviors from their parents, teachers, political leaders and friends. They are taught to value certain people and behaviors because these are adopted among the entire culture. The U.S., for example, is a country built on rugged individualism. Many of the families here grew from immigrants who came to the U.S. for its freedom and equal opportunity. The principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness lead to values of independence, drive and competition. Moreover, many Americans think of the U.S. first, because the nation is young and considers itself an exceptional country among others. These values lead to the individualist and business-driver styles explored in the preceding section. (See Figures 9 and 10.)
KEY POINT
With principles grounded in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, many U.S. leaders tend toward the individualist and business-driver styles.

In Nordic countries, by contrast, children are taught the value of the collective good and the governments play a role in making sure that people of all economic means are taken care of and supported. These countries are much older and their economies grew through globalization thousands of years ago. Young people learn about globalism, the collective good and the importance of the organization over the individual at an early age. These values are reflected in the people-leader style described earlier. (See Figures 9 and 10.) On the other side of the globe, the Chinese have a long history of Confucianism and focus on generational roles.15 The country is shifting from being dominated by the state to accelerating levels of individual freedom. This transformation has given rise to an increasing culture of entrepreneurship and hard work. With their long history, many Chinese people take a long-term view of organizational change, which is seen in their tendency toward an idealist style. (See Figures 11 and 12.)

15 Source: Into China: Talent Management Essentials in a Land of Paradox, PageUp People Research / Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, March 2012.

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Political Conditions
The role of a government, and its view of commerce and international business affect leadership styles in different locales. Consider the degree of control, for example, the Chinese Communist Party maintains over all aspects of business and media. Chinas governmental practices can confuse and frustrate business people from countries with very different ideologies and practices. This has caused some corporations to reconsider doing business there.16

Maturity and Size of the Corporations


Leadership qualities vary by organizational size and maturity. Founderrun companies are often started by a charismatic leader, someone who is entrepreneurial and innovative. As companies grow and mature, they often become more operational. Facing quarterly financial reports and being accountable to shareholders, they become increasingly concerned with maintaining a steady state. However, as companies grow, the competencies that support clear communication and gaining support also grow in importance. Particularly in high-growth markets such as Asia, leaders may need to take on more responsibility relatively early in their careers. With most organizations still on a growth track, these leaders will have to learn key skills in a rapidly changing environment. This includes the maturity to appreciate what a leader is, manage role transitions, and understand business strategy and operations. Todays comprehensive leadership development solutions must include areas that enable leaders to mature faster with a deeper and more structured focus than traditional leadership programs.17

Industry Variances
Conservative companies are likely to breed conservative, operational behavior, especially in industries in which risk mitigation is highly prized. For example, fiscal responsibility and regulations impact governmental
16 Source: Into China: Talent Management Essentials in a Land of Paradox, PageUp

People Research / Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, March 2012. 17 Source: Emerging Leadership Trends in India, Harvard Business Publishing, 2011.

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agencies and healthcare organizations. They are less likely, therefore, to reward highly innovative, risk-taking leaders. Technology companies, such as Apple and Google, on the other hand, go out of their way to foster creative, innovative behavior.

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Conclusion: Investing for Global Agility


KEY POINT
A global, one-size-fits-all leadership solution will not work, since leaders in different countries may have very different styles and skills sets.

Global expansion is one factor fueling additional spending on leadership development. Most large businesses are opening up new markets, requiring leaders with entrepreneurial skills, as well as with knowledge of local customs. In addition, with operations spreading around the globe, leaders now need to manage across geographic boundaries. Employers thus need to create virtual talent pools around the world to enable them to put talent where it is needed.18 This requires a new set of skills to manage employees, customers and partners with diverse cultures and needs. Our research reveals the necessity of understanding the competencies and potential within the leadership ranks, and the need for diversity within the leadership team. Organizations require different types of leaders to open up new markets and to meet ever-changing business conditions. The following is a summary of key findings and recommendations from our research. Tailored Development Since the balance of competencies varies from country to country, executives and leadership development professionals cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership development. Organizations must meet leaders where they are and use scientifically developed assessments to determine where a leaders initial strengths lie. Development can then be tailored for the individual. Many companies create global leadership programs and then customize them to meet local needs. The approach at General Mills, for example, is to blend a universal or corporate standard with local culture and business priorities. In striking this balance, the organization remains unified on leadership expectations and values which are common around the world, while remaining relevant to local needs. The companys CLO, who sees real value in local input to development solutions, said,

18

Source: Globally Mobile Workforces Are Changing Are You

Keeping Up?, Mercer, May 15, 2012, http://www.mercer.com/articles/ globally_mobile_workforces_are_changing*.

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I have found local adoptions to be quite innovative and have leveraged them for later global leadership development. Remember, not all leadership wisdom springs from headquarters! Respect Individual Differences Leaders in global companies must respect the individual differences of all those working with them. A U.S. leader with a business-driver style focused on results may frustrate a Chinese leader who is accustomed to a more flexible approach and values the opportunity to build the relationships before committing to the task. Individuals must recognize their differences and learn to work together for the ultimate good of the company.
KEY POINT
Although leaders should broaden their styles, companies must carefully position key talent to their strengths.

Broaden Leadership Capability Sets Effective leaders have a blend of transactional and transformational styles. HR leaders look for opportunities to broaden leaders experiences, so that they can strengthen traits in areas in which they are less comfortable. For example, visionary leaders can hone their operational skills through special assignments, job rotations or group projects. Play to Their Individual Strengths The goal is not to create all leaders in the same mold. Although leaders should broaden their styles, companies must carefully position key talent to their strengths. Highly skilled operational-style managers are less likely to succeed in roles in which highly transformational talent is needed, and vice versa. The fit of the leader to the need is critical for organizational success; ascertaining that fit through the types of employee intelligence shared in this report is essential. As an example, Cisco groups its leaders into four categories innovators, scale business-growers, cost-cutters and turnaround specialists. The company has found that a leader who is good at one of these types should move to opportunities for which that type is needed (i.e., from one innovation business to another innovation business). Trying to place a cost-cutter in an innovation business, for example, fails to recognize each leaders traits and likely will not succeed. Understand the Culture We strongly recommend that business and HR professionals study the history and culture of the countries in which they do business. As our research shows, leadership styles vary based on culture. A highly effective leader in the U.S., for example, may fail quickly in a collaborative culture like the Nordics, without sensitivity training.

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KEY POINT
A highly effective leader in the U.S., for example, may fail quickly in a collaborative culture like the Nordics, without sensitivity training.

Leaders in the Middle East, if they grew up in a patriarchal culture, may appear to be adversely gender-biased when moved into another culture. In looking for expatriates or foreign nationals to fill positions across borders, it is imperative to recognize the leadership competencies and styles in a particular geography. Although the expatriate model is still common, many companies are shifting away from it, recognizing that many expatriates lack the knowledge of the culture and local markets needed to succeed in these roles. If expatriates are used to fill positions, it is important to prepare them for these assignments, allowing time to understand and adjust to the norms in a new culture. Recruit the Right Skills Sets Finally, beyond executive development, there are implications for talent acquisition as corporations evaluate the skills sets that make leaders successful and strive to ensure a diversity of styles in their leadership teams. We see tremendous value in the use of scientific assessments to help in making the recruiting of executives more effective.

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Appendix I
Research Methodology

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Appendix I: Research Methodology


In the summer of 2012, Bersin & Associates analyzed assessment data provided by global assessment provider, SHL. The data represents three sets of leaders executives, midlevel and first-level managers. We evaluated the competency data across these three levels of leaders in 10 countries, using SHLs existing leadership capability model. The 10 countries are Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. Each country was selected based on the size of its economy and the availability of data, ensuring that we had adequate data from which to draw valid conclusions. The minimum sample size in each country was 1,000 participants. In total, our sample represents data from 30,576 individuals across a total of 778 separate organizations. The breakdown of executives, midlevel managers and first-level managers by country is shown in Figure 13.

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Figure 13: Breakdown of Leader Levels by Country

Australia

7% 7% 10%

22% 14% 22% 35% 10%

71% 79% 67% 55%

Belgium China
Denmark India Netherlands Norway Sweden U.K. U.S.

8%
11% 10% 6% 10% 17%
0% 20%

40%
19% 27% 23% 32% 19%
40% 60%

53%
71% 63% 71% 59% 65%
80% 100%

Executives

Midlevel leaders

First-level leaders

Source: : Bersin & Associates, 2012; data source: SHL, 2012.

Figure 14 displays the distribution of organizations by industry.

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Figure 14: Industries Represented

Utilities 2% Travel & Leisure 6% Telecommunications 9%

Banks 14%

Construction / Engineering 5% Durable Goods / Manufacturing 3%


Food & Beverage 5%

Technology 4%

Support Services 11%

Retail 2%

Healthcare Equipment and Services 3% Industrial Transportation 3% Insurance / Real Estate / Financial Services 7% Oil / Gas / Mining / Energy 1% Public Sector and Non-Governmental Organizations 12%
Source: : Bersin & Associates, 2012; data source: SHL, 2012.

Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 5% Other 6%

How the Data Was Analyzed


Our analysis primarily included data on eight major competencies. (See section, Appendix II: Leadership Competencies.) The data compares the average of leaders assessment scores in each country on a pair of competencies. The placement on the charts is an indication of relative performance versus other countries. We caution against overgeneralization. This sample is indicative of trends on average across the 10 countries and is not applicable to individuals, per se.

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Appendix II
Leadership Competencies

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Appendix II: Leadership Competencies


Figure 15 delineates SHLs definitions of the eight key leadership competencies.

Figure 15: SHLs Eight Leadership Competencies

Leading and Deciding Supporting and Co-operating Interacting and Presenting Analyzing and Interpreting Creating and Conceptualizing Organizing and Executing Adapting and Coping Enterprising and Performing

Takes control and exercises leadership. Initiates action, gives direction and takes responsibility. Supports others and shows respect and positive regard for them in social situations. Puts people first, working effectively with individuals and teams, clients and staff. Behaves consistently with clear personal values that complement those of the organization. Communicates and networks effectively. Successfully persuades and influences others. Relates to others in a confident and relaxed manner. Shows evidence of clear analytical thinking. Gets to the heart of complex problems and issues. Applies own expertise effectively. Quickly learns new technology. Communicates well in writing. Open to new ideas and experiences. Seeks out learning opportunities. Handles situations and problems with innovation and creativity. Thinks broadly and strategically. Supports and drives organizational change. Plans ahead and works in a systematic and organized way. Follows directions and procedures. Focuses on customer satisfaction and delivers a quality service or product to the agreed standards. Adapts and responds well to change. Manages pressure effectively and copes with setbacks. Focuses on results and achieving personal work objectives. Works best when work is related closely to results and the impact of personal efforts is obvious. Shows an understanding of business, commerce and finance. Seeks opportunities for self-development and career advancement.
Source: SHL 2012.

Source: Bersin & Associates, 2012.

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Appendix III: Table of Figures


Figure 1: Todays Talent Challenges Figure 2: Kotters Differences between Management and Leadership Figure 3: The Results of Imbalance between Management and Leadership Skills Figure 4: Competency Model Factors for Management versus Leadership Focus 8 10
11

13

Figure 5: Developing the Vision 15 Figure 6: Definitions Developing the Vision


16

Figure 7: Sharing the Goals 18 Figure 8: Definitions Sharing the Goals Figure 9: Gaining Support Figure 10: Definitions Gaining Support Figure 11: Delivering Success Figure 12: Definitions Delivering Success 19 20 21 23 23

Figure 13: Breakdown of Leader Levels by Country 37 Figure 14: Industries Represented Figure 15: SHLs Eight Leadership Competencies 38 40

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About Us
Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory consulting firm focused solely on WhatWorks research in enterprise learning and talent management. With more than 25 years of experience in enterprise learning, technology and HR business processes, Bersin & Associates provides actionable, research-based services to help learning and HR managers and executives improve operational effectiveness and business impact. Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks and in-depth market analyses designed to help executives and practitioners make fast, effective decisions. Member benefits include in-depth advisory services, access to proprietary webcasts and industry user groups, strategic workshops, and strategic consulting to improve operational effectiveness and business alignment. More than 3,500 organizations in a wide range of industries benefit from Bersin & Associates research and services. Bersin & Associates can be reached at http://www.bersin.com or at (510) 251-4400.

About This Research


Copyright 2012 Bersin & Associates. All rights reserved. WhatWorks and related names such as Rapid e-Learning: WhatWorks and The High-Impact Learning Organization are registered trademarks of Bersin & Associates. No materials from this study can be duplicated, copied, republished or reused without written permission from Bersin & Associates. The information and forecasts contained in this report reflect the research and studied opinions of Bersin & Associates analysts.

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