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Most companies have leaders with the strong operational skills needed to maintain the status quo.But they face a critical deficit: They lack people in positions of power with the know-how, experience, and confidence required to tackle what management scientists call “wicked problems.” Such problems can’t be solved by a single command, they have causes that seem incomprehensible and solutions that seem uncertain, and they often require companies to transform the way they do business.Every enterprise faces these kinds of challenges today.A 2015 Pw C study of 6,000 senior executives, conducted using a research methodology developed by David Rooke of Harthill Consulting and William Torbert of Boston University, revealed just how pervasive this shortfall is.
In other words, in the course of a transformative decade marked by the collision of technological breakthroughs, financial crises, demographic shifts, and other major global forces, the leadership needle barely moved.
Given the small percentage of senior leadership equipped to manage large-scale transformation, companies are often forced to bring in leaders from outside.
But as we’ve observed in countless organizations over the years, significant change in a company is more likely to succeed if it is led from within.
Perhaps most alarming, the leadership gap is typically hidden from view.
No one recognizes that the company’s top executives aren’t acting strategically, or people do realize it, but no one is willing to call attention to the problem.
The gap thus comes to light only when a company faces a major challenge to its traditional way of doing business.