CEO and board confidence monitor: A deep dive on the Middle East
CEO & Board of Directors

CEO and board confidence monitor: A deep dive on the Middle East

A recent survey of 112 CEOs and board members in the Middle East highlights leaders’ concerns about leadership attraction, development, and planning.
May 12, 2024
Heidrick & Struggles

Leaders in the Middle East generally see the same topics as significant for their organizations as leaders in other regions: economic and geopolitical uncertainty and volatility as well as building and maintaining and healthy organizational culture are in the top five globally and in the region. However, leaders in the Middle East are more often concerned about leadership attraction, development, retention, leadership succession, and turnover. 

Most significant issues chart for ME confidence monitor

And on those key issues, only around a third of leaders in the Middle East who are concerned are confident in their organization’s ability to manage them. They are even less confident on these issues than leaders around the world.

ability to manage chart for ME confidence monitor

And although the region’s leaders have about the same level of confidence in how their leadership development strategy is positioning the organization for the future, a startling 12% have no confidence at all—double the global share.

leadership strategy chart for ME confidence monitor

These findings highlight the challenges leaders in the region are facing as they seek to develop more leadership talent at home while also being attractive to the best talent from around the world. Our work with clients suggests three steps boards can take to meet those challenges.

  1. Strategic workforce planning for the future: Boards and leaders must engage at the top in terms of the organization’s strategic planning roadmap (ideally on a three-to-five-year horizon), skill sets for the future, and the plan to attract best-fit talent from the market and develop leaders from within the organization. Often, talent acquisition planning is limited to annual cycles. Therefore, shaping a rolling, forward-looking perspective is helpful in enabling the talent strategy—buy, build, borrow, and so on—to deliver the desired results in a timely manner.
  2. Encouraging leaders’ learning and development: Boards can help organizations keep the focus on building internal capabilities via a systematic approach to leader development. Bringing succession planning discussions (at least up to two or three levels below the C-suite within an organization) as an agenda item to board-led committee discussions serves as a mechanism to allow for the visibility and development of current and emerging leaders. It also allows for a check on diversity and talent mobility. Regular assessments of leaders, review of individual and collective competency gaps, and plans to close those gaps for the future are encouraged as an ongoing discipline for organizations that focus on talent health.
  3. Enabling a culture that attracts talent and is aligned to your organization’s business ambition: To ensure that leaders stay and positively contribute to an organization’s goals, it is critical that boards and the C-suite define and lead the cascade of culture within an organization. How leaders role model the desired culture and values of an organization influences how self-motivated individuals will be to perform within that environment.

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