Blanchard’s 2011 Corporate Issues Survey

Every year since 2003, the Ken Blanchard Companies has conducted it’s survey of business leaders and has published findings from these conversations.

For the 2011 study, over 1300 global leaders were polled. Over 9,000 executives, line managers, training and HR leaders have participated in this ongoing study since 2003.

As Blanchard’s culture expert, I am always interested in how these leaders’ concerns and their views of upcoming opportunities have to do with their organization’s culture.

Key insights

  • Views of the economy are fairly optimistic, slightly more positive than respondents’ opinions of the economy in 2010.
  • 78% of respondents said they would be spending the same or more on training and development activities in 2011 than was spent in 2010. That’s a significant increase over the last three years.
  • The top organizational challenges remain the same from 2010. The top four include:
    • Economic challenges (60% reported concerns here)
    • Growth and expansion (60% noted this issue)
    • Competitive pressure (53% expressed this opportunity), and
    • Culture change (reported by 49% of respondents).

Respondents also reported these top five management challenges in 2011:

  • Managing change,
  • Creating an engaged workforce,
  • Developing potential leaders,
  • Performance management, and
  • Aligning culture with strategy.

The Impact of Culture

Let’s examine the top management challenges and look at how Blanchard’s proven, award-winning culture change process can address these issues.

Our culture change process creates a foundation of clear performance standards, clear valued behaviors, and accountability for both. Senior leaders find that culture is much easier to proactively manage when they utilize this process.

Leaders can effectively manage change – their own reactions and those of their team members – when vision and strategy is clearly defined and change consistently serve the declared vision and strategy.

Employees commit their heads, hearts, and hands when they live in a fair and just work environment. With values and goals agreed to, and leaders who demonstrate trust and respect towards employees daily, engagement skyrockets.

Developing potential leaders is a natural outcome in the high performance, values aligned workplace. Future leaders are coached and guided by leaders they trust and respect. They learn that effective leadership is not just about performance – it’s about how employees and customers are treated every day.

Our process helps leaders and team members understand how their goals serve the team’s vision & strategy. Performance clarity helps leaders hold themselves and team members accountable for agreed-to standards.

Finally, aligning culture with strategy is a natural outcome of our process. The discipline required of senior leaders to clarify & communicate strategy sets the foundation, while the proactive management of HOW work gets done and HOW employees and customers are treated creates a values aligned culture.

See my blog post on the ROI of culture change for more details on our culture clients’ successes.

One Final Survey Datapoint

The biggest leadership skill gap reported in this year’s corporate issues survey was “developing leaders who exude passion.” Less than 7% of respondents believe they have leaders who do so!

Values-aligned servant leaders demonstrate a tangible passion for their work, their team members, their customers, and their organization. How can we help you build a more passionate team at your organization?


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