Global Leadership Survey: All-Around Leadership

Organizations are broadening their definitions of a “leader,” and realizing their programs aren’t covering critical competencies related to technology and innovation, according to the fourth annual Global Leadership Development Survey conducted by Training, AMA, and i4cp.

Broader thinking, higher expectations, and deeper analysis characterize the organizations represented in the 2013 iteration of the annual Global Leadership Development (GLD) study conducted by Training magazine, the American Management Association (AMA), and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).

This year’s findings paint a picture of firms being laser-focused on bringing effective global leadership development to their workforces, from their expanded definition of a leader to their shrinking tolerance for lack of results. Among the 10 key findings, three stand out prominently as pillars in supporting a new outlook for GLD:

  • There is a shift to defining leaders by influence, not role. More than half of participants from High-Performing Organizations (HPOs) define leaders by their degree of influence and performance, not their position.
  • Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) is playing a pivotal role in driving GLD content. Nearly twice as many high-performing organizations as low-performing organizations use SWP to identify competency gaps and drive the content of GLD.
  • Critical competencies related to technology and innovation need mastery but are absent from many GLD programs. The top four competencies that are missing from GLD yet considered important—increased comfort with virtual technology, social network technology, creativity, and building a culture of innovation—are also among the top six competencies identified as having the greatest need for mastery, along with managing virtual teams.

Overall, more organizations are addressing global leadership development this year: Some 39 percent of the 1,174 respondents in 2013 have some form of formal GLD vs. 31 percent in 2010 and 2012. More than half (52 percent) standardize their GLD for consistency but tweak it at the local level to reflect cultural or geographic nuances.

Also, organizations have tempered self-assessments of their Global Leadership Development Effectiveness (GLDE) from previous years. The proportion reporting GLDE in the top two ratings rose from 2010 (42 percent) to 2011 (47 percent) to 2012 (51 percent), but fell in 2013 to 40 percent—with even HPOs reporting just 48 percent.

About This Study

The survey participants for the 2013 study were drawn from three sources: subscribers to Training magazine, the American Management Association (AMA) and its global affiliates, and the Institute for Corporate Productivity’s (i4cp) global survey panel. The total respondent population was 1,174, which included 455 who indicated that their organizations had a global leadership development program in place. The final population of participants included 37 industry sectors. Terms are defined as follows:

  • Global Leadership Development (GLD) is defined as building global skills and competencies (in employees at any level) that are needed to operate in a global business environment (worldwide customers, suppliers, employees, distributors, etc.) regardless of whether or not the organization has operations in other countries.
  • Market Performance Index (MPI) combines responses to questions related to four key areas of business success: revenue growth, market share, profitability, and customer focus. Organizations in the top one-third of MPI scores are designated High-Performing Organizations (HPOs). Organizations in the lower one-third of MPI scores are designated Low-Performing Organizations (LPOs).
  • Global Leadership Development Effectiveness (GLDE): We asked participants to describe the overall effectiveness of their organization’s GLD process on a five-point scale. Respondents indicating the top two levels of effectiveness comprise the GLDE cohort, which significantly correlates to the Market Performance Index (MPI).

Download the PDF of key findings below. To request a copy of the full report, e-mail

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.