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R. DOUGLAS WILLIAMSON
R. DOUGLAS WILLIAMSON

LEADERSHIP LAB

New year, new challenges: Are you ready? Add to ...

This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.

Do you know what the future holds?

Neither do we, but we do have some thoughts about three emerging trends you would be wise to keep an eye on as we enter 2016.

The gap between the truly great, the merely good and the boringly average will widen further.

Differences in the level of both organizational and individual ambition, competence and capability will become even more pronounced. This will make it impossible for the unprepared and the complacent to just hang on. Simple survival won’t cut it. The ramifications will be obvious, the consequences predictable and the costs inevitable.

The leadership talent you will need to remain relevant in the future will become even harder to locate and attract.

The best organizations will quickly come to appreciate that the mindsets, skill sets and competencies of the future are different from those of the past. Retooling leadership, at all levels, will not be an option – it will be a necessity. Sadly, far too many organizations will ignore the signals and fall victim to the natural consequences of the talent scarcity gap.

Organizational culture will matter more to your success than ever before.

Dysfunctional cultures punish the guilty by placing a harsh, hidden “tax” on organizational performance. The cost of that “tax” will go up even further in 2016. To boost overall effectiveness, you must lower the tax rate. You do that by creating a culture which boosts the level of discretionary investment by your people by removing the man-made barriers to collaboration, innovation and accountability.

The new year will bring new challenges – it always does. It will generously layer them on top of those you are already facing. Some will find that burden too overwhelming, but others will be wise enough to get ahead of the curve. They will adjust to the signals the future is already sending our way.

It is a choice. There are solid options and better alternatives.

Are you set?

Douglas Williamson is president and chief executive officer, The Beacon Group, Toronto.

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