It has been 12 years since the task force on Leadership and Management Skills delivered its verdict in The Karpin Report. This Report was to lay out the changes through training required to prepare Australian Managers and Leaders for the year 2010.

The result of the Karpin Report was to raise the general awareness that the abilities of the Australian managers impacted on the company’s performance. It also stressed the importance of ongoing training to develop effective performance; placing emphasis on the interpersonal skills required for managers such as communication, negotiation and mediation, conflict resolution, creativity and the ability to manage change.

So with only two years before we reach the target date, how are we going?

In 2005 the HR consulting firm DDI issued a report which declared that almost 2/3rds of HR professionals and managers ‘lack strong confidence in the ability of senior leaders to guide their organisations over the next five years.’ It concluded that Australian business needed to do more to develop leadership potential.


In the same year The Boston Consulting Group, which prepared the Karpin report issued its new report, 2020 Vision, The Manager of the 21st Century; released by the Innovative and Business Skills Australia (IBSA).


The new report was designed to ensure that organisations have a ‘similarly useful model and government funded resources’ on which to base their planning to improve their leadership and management teams over the coming years.

So what are some of the changes identified in the report?

· It highlights the fact that the there will be three very different generations in the workplace for the first time. What the Generations X and Y want and aspire to will prove to be very different from the ‘baby boomers’ who have dominated the business scene over the past twenty years. It may be important to the perceptions of those managers interviewed by DDI that it is the baby boomers who are often filling those senior management positions.

· The probable globalisation of the services economy is likely to create a much more complex management environment.

· It predicts more flexible working arrangements, which will be designed to suit employee needs and desires. Flexibility will become the key to attracting and retaining high calibre staff

· There is likely to be more emphasis on the wider obligations of a company rather than the ‘obsession’ with short-term shareholder value.

These changes are likely to have a major impact on the skills and attributes that successful business and company executives will need in the future: It concludes that ‘the age of the generalist manager is coming to an end’ and there is likely to be a return to expert leadership.

How well are your leaders trained, and how effectively will they lead your company over the next five years?

Michele @ Trischel

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