Car execs call for fresh ideas to save automotive industry

 
Adam Hignett
Aston Martin chief Andy Palmer says leaders will need to think globally
The automotive industry is in dire need of a new generation of leaders if it is to survive in an increasingly challenging environment according to new research by talent consultancy firm Korn Ferry.

The report, released today, which draws upon interviews with more than 50 senior executives from across the industry, found 39 per cent of respondents believed companies lack clear strategy for the future, while only 53 per cent were confident that their company can identify and develop high-potential next-generation leadership talent.

It claims that in an era of rapid technological change, automotive companies will have to broaden their search for talent and develop a workforce with the skills to cope with a customer base whose expectations have become increasingly accustomed to the swift upgrades by makers of smartphones and tablets.

Further threats to the industry come from disruptive technologies, such as Google’s prototypes of autonomous cars, as well as innovative companies like Tesla challenging the old order.

The report said the most important attributes for future leaders in the automotive industry are; strategic agility, the ability to cultivate innovation, dealing with ambiguity, inspiring others and cultural adaptability.

According to the report, while some of these attribute are more innate, others can be developed over time, but in combination provide the most valid and reliable predictors of future leadership potential.

Chris Donkin, senior client partner at Korn Ferry and author of the report, said: “The results of the survey point to a fundamental shift in the leadership capabilities required to succeed in what is likely to be a prolonged period of slow growth and rapid change. Ultimately, the winners will be those companies that can evolve most quickly, developing streamlined, adaptive talent organisations driven by a new breed of executives with different leadership skills.”

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