2008 Trend 4: Leadership and Company Development

The borders of the traditional company are fading: depending on the assignment, another company can be either competition or a partner, or sometimes even both at once. The result of this is that companies work together in various combinations: sometimes assignments are done in-house, and sometimes an assignment is performed in a team consisting of various partner and/or other external parties. To develop an organization, it is essential to create a network. This is above all a business responsibility.

Not only are the borders with the external world fading: the internal side of the business is also undergoing great changes. Because of the influence of private equity and sourcing strategies, mergers and acquisitions are becoming more common these days, leading to a constant need for both integration and separation of departments.


If the borders of the company are becoming less clear and the organization is constantly changing, there is a strong need for leaders with a vision, which can tie employees to the company by keeping them intrigued. The role of HR in this is clear: they must ensure that there are sufficient leaders, and that leadership is enabled to take charge of these changes. Leading a virtual team spread out over several time-zones and cultures in a complex network-environment is a completely different ball-park to managing an office in one location or within a national context. New business leaders must be ready to act in complex, rapidly changing environments. A problem is posed by the ageing part of the workforce of many companies, as the current management teams will no longer be active within the next five to ten years. This is a direct threat to the growth of a company, and puts a lot of pressure on HR to identify the leaders of tomorrow, and to fill in this gap through plans for leadership development.

Changes in the company force HR to ensure that employees are treated well during any takeovers or separations. Changes not only have to be implemented, but must be incorporated into the behavior of the employees. Stubbornly doing things as before leads to a company becoming stuck in a rut, and does not lead to the desired agility and flexibility. Leadership throughout any change is crucial. The extent to which HR has been exposed to sourcing strategies within its own department, will significantly contribute to how they can deal with any integration or segregation.