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5 Hot Topics for Executive Development


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Every two years, the Executive Development Associates, Inc. (EDA) conducts a survey of trends and strategies in executive development.

In their recent 2016 study release, the results have shown emerging trends and implications for the changing landscape of executive leadership development. Here are the top recommendations and priorities to focus on:

The Top Priorities for Executive Development:


Why this is important:  The above five priorities were identified as key objectives of for executive development over the next 2-3 years. The EDA report suggests there is a disconnect between the needed competencies, such as Visioning, and the priorities on which executive development programs are focusing.

In other words, organizations are recognizing needs they are not necessarily addressing in their current development focus. It will be important for organizations to address this disconnect in order to effectively develop future leaders.

However organizations choose to focus on strategic executive development, developing current and future leaders will remain one of the most pressing challenges that organizations will face in coming years.

The recommended development approaches to accomplish the above priorities include training, coaching, and developing a leadership mindset in emerging leaders.

The survey also issued a cautionary tale for the readiness of organizations in developing their leadership pipeline, and highlighted the top competencies that executives identify the next generation of leaders are most lacking in:

The Most Lacking Competencies in the Next Generation of Leaders:


Why this is Important: When asked to look down the organizational funnel at the next generation of leaders who are most likely to fill executive positions in 3-5 years, survey respondents reported that the ability to "create a vision, convey it to others, and inspire and engage people around that vision" is the single most important competency for emerging leaders, but simultaneously reported that it was the most lacking ability in the emerging generation of leaders.

To have "vision," leaders need to be able communicate that they "see" future possibilities. The authors of The Leadership Challenge®, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, have found in their research that to be "forward-looking" is one of the most defining characteristics people look for in a leader. 

To help increase emerging leaders' capacity to establish and communicate a leadership vision, organizations should develop a leadership mindset in emerging leaders.

You may also want to read some of our other research into leadership and learning and development trends:

This blog was originally published in 2010, with updates in 2012, 2014, and 2016 to reflect research updates.

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Lauren Parkhill

Lauren Parkhill is FlashPoint’s brand engagement strategist. She curates web, email, and social content to help organizations develop their leaders and teams.