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19 Sep, 2011

Next Generation of Corporate Leaders Lacks Critical Thinking Skills – Study

This dispatch contains summaries of and clickable links to recent research reports, surveys and studies on corporate leadership, future business challenges, Generation X, Study abroad, Young Americans, Health and Wellness, and Social Good. Mostly available free.

Please scroll down to access the stories.

(+) Major Study Reveals Next Generation of Corporate Leaders Lacks Critical Thinking Skills to Successfully Take the Helm

(+) What’s on the Business Horizon for the Next Five Years? Fletcher/CSI Asked the Opinion of 34,000 Business People

(+) Generation X: Overlooked and Hugely Important finds New Study from the Center for Work-Life Policy

(+) Abroad101 Unveils 1st Annual Study Abroad Rankings

(+) Young Americans and Social Security: 66% Think Money is Safer under Their Pillow than with the Federal Government

(+) Global Spa Summit Research Finds Potentially Explosive, $106 Billion Wellness Tourism Market Held Back by Conceptual Confusion and Weak Promotional Models

(+) JWT Explores Trends in Social Good


Major Study Reveals Next Generation of Corporate Leaders Lacks Critical Thinking Skills to Successfully Take the Helm

Bloomington, Minn. (PRWEB) September 12, 2011 — As today’s corporations grapple with everything from a volatile global economy to technology evolving at warp speed, the biggest challenge they face may be a mass exodus from the executive suite. According to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of one every eight seconds and top companies have as many as 60 percent of their workforce eligible for retirement in the next three years.

Findings from a study of top corporations released today reveal that current corporate leaders don’t believe the next generation of executives has the critical and strategic thinking skills requisite to navigate these volatile times and the unchartered future.

The “2011/2012 Trends in Executive Development: A Benchmark Report” is the product of collaboration between Pearson TalentLens and Executive Development Associates Inc. (EDA). Leaders from a record number of 81 large national and multinational corporations with substantial business operations in the United States participated in the biennial survey, which has been conducted by EDA every two years since 1983 to follow the trends, growth and evolution of executive development in corporate environments. The complete report can be purchased here.

“The leaders at the helm of today’s corporations – most of whom are Baby Boomers – are telling us that they believe the next generation of leaders are not prepared to move into the executive suite and face the challenges of effectively making critical decisions, solving complex problems and thinking creatively and strategically,” said Dr. Judy Chartrand, Consultant Chief Scientist at Pearson TalentLens. “Significant investments in the identification and development of the next generation of corporate leaders will play a crucial role in the success and, perhaps survival, of these large national and multinational corporations. Bonnie Hagemann and John Mattone’s research report couldn’t come at a better time.”

As in the 2009 study, this year’s survey respondents continued to cite the importance of building their “bench strength” for leadership succession. However, this year’s research revealed a troubling disconnect between the belief that succession planning and development are critical and actual corporate initiatives to support those needs.

In a similar vein, this year’s respondents admitted that their organizations need to use more objective assessments to evaluate employee performance and potential, but then reported that they were continuing to use subjective measures that often have very little to do with predicting likely future performance in more challenging and difficult roles.

Interestingly, companies’ struggles with today’s economic crisis and global upheaval were apparent during the survey process. A representative from one company that has typically participated in the research reported that because of economic changes and financial constraints, they had nothing to contribute. Another leader from a Global 1000 company said that because of cutbacks, the human resources team is much smaller than two years ago and expected to do twice the work with fewer resources, and therefore couldn’t even spare the 30 minutes to complete the survey.

For more information about executive, leadership and high-potential development, click here.


What’s on the Business Horizon for the Next Five Years? Fletcher/CSI Asked the Opinion of 34,000 Business People… and Here are the Results

Williston, VT (PRWEB) September 18, 2011 — During a 19 day period this July, Fletcher/CSI conducted a survey that asked executives at leading companies around the world to tell us their thoughts on how they thought the business world would change over the next five years.

The five year survey examined potential scenarios from the perspective of changes in Society, Technology, Economics, Environment, and Politics (STEEP). For the society and technology portions, we looked at the emergence of social media on business and value propositions. As economics are a constant for all companies, we chose to look at investor demand for higher returns and how those will impact the value propositions offered by companies. Our environmental scenario looked at the impact of green technology on business and operations, while our political scenario focused on the role of changing regulations and government on business success.

Survey results suggest that the next few years will be heavily influenced by the intersection of social media and cultural identity. To succeed in this new environment, companies will need to demonstrate a consistent value proposition across all products, markets, and internal messaging. Inconsistency between what companies say and what they do are likely to be exposed and used by competitors to gain advantage.

Based on survey results, the next five years will see an acceleration of change in many areas that effect how companies operate. To get a free copy of the tabulated survey results, please click here; or visit http://www.fletchercsi.com.


Generation X: Overlooked and Hugely Important finds New Study from the Center for Work-Life Policy

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 16, 2011 — A new study by the Center for Work-Life Policy finds that despite being the smallest generation (46 million), Generation X might be “the most critical generation of all” for employers. The study’s findings were presented last night at a launch event at Credit Suisse in New York City on September 15.

Study available for purchase, click here.

Gen Xers are of an age (33 to 46 years old) that should put them at the prime of their lives and careers, stepping into crucial leadership roles and starting families. However, the study, entitled “The X Factor: Tapping into the Strengths of the 33- to 46-Year-Old Generation,” reveals that due to challenges and circumstances out of their control, Gen Xers are taking a different life path.

Perhaps the most shocking finding in the study is the exceptionally large number of Gen Xers who are choosing not to have children. Their extreme work schedules (nearly a third of high-earning Gen Xers work 60+ hours a week), strong career ambition, the current economic challenges, as well as changing mores and life choices are all factors that contribute to their high level of childlessness compared to other generations.

Gen X, born between 1965 and 1978, might be called the “wrong place, wrong time” generation. They were hit by an economic triple whammy: college- related debt, multiple boom and bust cycles (including the 1987 stock market crash, occurring just as Gen X entered the work force), and the housing slump. As a result, Gen X is the first generation not to match their parents’ living standards.

While these economic woes have impacted most generations, they have hit Gen X the hardest in their work lives. Due to their own financial concerns, Boomers are not retiring and are choosing instead to work an average of nine years longer than anticipated. This delays Gen X’s career progression, resulting in their feeling stalled in their careers and dissatisfied with their rate of advancement.

Yet the turmoil and instability that have been an integral part of Xers’ lives have yielded unexpected benefits in the work world. Having been front and center for every major economic crisis of the past 30 years, Xers possess exactly the sort of resilience that organizations need as they face an uncertain future.

Most important, Xers are masters at mastering change—a skill set critical in every company today. They have been laid off, restructured, outsourced, reorganized and relocated more than any other generation in modern times—yet they are hugely hard-working and ambitious, eager to amplify their talents by learning new skills and garnering new experiences. However, employers must take warning: These strengths risk being nullified by diminished loyalty, declining engagement—and increasing apathy.

Key Findings:

  • A surprisingly large proportion of Xers are delaying or even opting out of parenting: 43 percent of Xer women and 32 percent of Xer men do not have children.
  • Among non-parents, 60 percent of women and 36 percent of men feel their personal commitments are perceived as less important than those of colleagues with children.
  • Despite having been nicknamed the “slacker generation,” Generation X enrolled in higher education in record numbers. Over a third of Gen X hold bachelor’s degrees and 11 percent have graduate degrees.
  • Gen X is not only highly ambitious but their ambition is nearly gender neutral: 75 percent of women and 72 percent of men consider themselves ambitious.
  • Thwarted by Boomers who can’t afford to retire and threatened by the prospect of leap-frogging Millennials, 41 percent of Xers are unsatisfied with their current rate of advancement and 49 percent feel stalled in their careers.
  • Debt determines many Xer career choices, with 43 percent of Xers saying that their ability to pay off their student loans is an important factor in their career choices and 74 percent saying the same about credit card debt.
  • The vast majority (91%) of X women and 68 percent of X men are part of a dual-earning couple. More than a third (36%) of Gen X women out-earn their spouses.
  • Women and minorities made up 64 percent of graduates during the Gen X college years. Many Xer minorities are the first in their family to graduate from college: 49 percent for African-Americans and 54 percent for Hispanics, compared to 33 percent of Caucasians.

For employers worldwide, the X factor is crucial to future success but few corporate programs are directed at their needs. Smart organizations will seek to understand what motivates them in order to sustain, retain, realize and maximize their potential. Solutions include offering alternative opportunities to Xers when they cannot be promoted vertically and making sure that Gen Xers without children receive the same flexibility as those with children.

Xers may have become accustomed to being invisible but “the X Factor” proves that no company can afford to ignore them now.

Methodology: Spearheaded by American Express, Boehringer Ingelheim USA, Cisco, Credit Suisse, Google and the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force, research for the study comprised of virtual strategy sessions, ten focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and a survey of 2,952 U.S. college educated men and women in white collar occupations conducted by Knowledge Networks under the auspices of the Center for Work-Life Policy, a nonprofit research organization.

Research Sponsors: American Express, Boehringer Ingelheim USA, Cisco, Credit Suisse, and Google


Abroad101 Unveils 1st Annual Study Abroad Rankings

Boston, MA (PRWEB) September 13, 2011 — Abroad101, the world’s first and largest study abroad review website, released its first annual study abroad program rankings today.

Based on comprehensive program evaluations from more than 10,000 students, the rankings showcase students’ top picks in everything ranging from top academics, to the safest and most budget-friendly cities. Highlights include:

  • International Studies Abroad (ISA) led the rankings as the program with the top academics and best program administration.
  • London reigns as the most popular study abroad destination, while Beijing and Cape Town also made the list as increasingly popular cities.
  • Florence, Italy won student’s hearts (and stomachs) as the city with the best food.
  • Emerson College’s program in a 14th century medieval castle in Well, Netherlands clenched the highest overall satisfaction rating as well as the safest city.
  • The most budget-friendly city was awarded to “The Ocean” (aka SEA Semester’s floating 134-foot campus).

“Abroad101’s commitment to collecting honest, thorough student reviews from over 200 university partners enables access to an unprecedented level of insider program information,” says Mike Stone, President of Abroad101.

“We strive to match students with the best study abroad program for their needs, and we are excited to analyze trends in our data and add value to the program selection process.”

The rankings are launching at an exciting “10k Era” for Abroad101, which has evolved into a popular destination for students to find the perfect study abroad program.

In addition to achieving the milestone of collecting it’s 10,000th review, the website recently launched a “$10k China Giveaway,” which will grant three lucky students 10,000 dollars worth of scholarships to IEM’s China program in Shanghai, promoting the mission of President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s “100,000 Strong” initiative.

Abroad101’s 2011 Study Abroad Rankings can be viewed here. Link forces readers to connect via facebook and click “like” to see the full list.

To learn more, click here.


Young Americans and Social Security: 66% Think Money is Safer under Their Pillow than with the Federal Government

Washington, DC (PRWEB) September 15, 2011 – Generation Opportunity today highlighted a figure from its national survey of young adults ages 18-29 from across the political spectrum. When asked the specific question, “in your opinion, is your Social Security money safer with the federal government or under your pillow?” 66% of young voters indicated the money is safer under their pillow.

“Young people are looking at a situation where the economic challenges and limited opportunities they face today potentially extends to the end of their careers, where there is zero assurance Social Security will be there for them,” said Paul T. Conway, President of Generation Opportunity and a former Chief of Staff for the United States Department of Labor. “Despite all of this, young adults remain optimistic about their skills and their ability to contribute to the country – they are simply looking for competent leadership that respects their interests and places a higher value on unleashing America’s economic engine to create more jobs and economic opportunity.”

In the same poll, 69% said that Washington does not reflect their interests and an additional 69% indicated that the federal government should make tough decisions by making sacrifices right now rather than asking more of Americans struggling in an anemic economy.

Generation Opportunity is one of the fastest growing and largest grassroots organizations in the nation dedicated to organizing and mobilizing young adults through a strategy based on social media and ground operations. The organization, publicly launched in June of 2011, has amassed over one million fans through its “Being American” page on Facebook.

Young Americans On The Future Of Social Security, Washington, And The Economy

Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc. /WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and highlights of results for all young Americans ages 18-29 appears below.

Millennials: Social Security

66% believe that their Social Security money is safer under their pillow than in the U.S. Treasury.

Millennials: Federal Spending

18-29 year-olds are deeply concerned about U.S. financial debt (66%) and deficit (71%).

Three quarters (76%) of respondents would like to see federal spending reduced.

69% said the federal government should make sacrifices right now.

Millennials: Washington Isn’t Getting It Done

Only 31% of those 18-29 approve of Obama’s handling of the youth unemployment.

56% believe the wrong leadership is in Washington and 61% will vote on a candidate’s record, not charisma.

57% said they will learn more about the policy positions of Presidential candidates in the 2012 election than they did in 2008.

69% say political leaders do NOT reflect the interests of young Americans.

Millennials: America and Opportunity

54% believe America is on the wrong track, only 24% believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction.

54% agree they have “more opportunity” than their parents, and 27% actually think their children will have less.

77% of respondents (18-29) are delaying major life changes due to economic restraints.

44% delay buying a home;

28% delay saving for retirement;

27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;

27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;

26% delay changing jobs/cities;

23% delay starting a family;

18% delay getting married.

Read more about Generation Opportunity here.


Global Spa Summit Research Finds Potentially Explosive, $106 Billion Wellness Tourism Market Held Back by Conceptual Confusion and Weak Promotional Models

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 08, 2011 — The Global Spa Summit (GSS) today released key findings from its research initiative “Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism: Where Do Spas Fit?” – the most comprehensive investigation of the wellness tourism and medical tourism industries to date. The 100-plus-page report contains: an overview of existing definitions, industry data, and organizational and promotional models underway worldwide; twelve national case studies; results from a survey of 200+ industry stakeholders; and recommendations for governments and businesses going forward.

The full report available free here:

Key Findings:

  • Governments should develop and promote medical tourism and wellness tourism separately.
  • Wellness tourism represents by far the best “fit” for the spa industry, and already generates twice the global revenues of the more-established medical tourism market ($106 bil. vs. $50 bil. USD).*
  • Persistent terminology confusion, combined with weak or generic promotion, is significantly holding back these emerging travel categories.

“This report should be read by every tourism board, spa and medical facility worldwide,” noted Susie Ellis, GSS Board Member. “Medical tourists and wellness tourists spend 3 to 5 times more than the average tourist, and the financial opportunities within both these sectors are vast. This research will help public and private players establish smarter overall strategies, organizational structures and marketing campaigns to more powerfully position themselves within these lucrative markets.”

Key Roadblock: Conceptual Confusion

Wellness tourism’s and medical tourism’s growth are being stymied by inconsistent, confusing terminology and conceptual intermingling. The survey of 200+ executives reveals a dramatic lack of consensus around definitions/concepts, even among industry players.

25% of executive respondents left the request for open-ended definitions of “medical,” “wellness” and “health” tourism blank, or answered “don’t know.”

66% couldn’t provide a “health tourism” definition, or responded, “don’t know,” revealing confusion around this term is especially acute.

89% report medical tourism and wellness tourism are used/defined inconsistently around the world.

95% argued inconsistent definitions are causing consumer confusion, and that a common language needs be established.


Clear, consistent definitions need to be established globally. Usage of “health tourism” should be avoided, because the term “health” is associated both with the medical arena and complementary medicine/spas.

Suggested “core” definitions: a “medical tourist” travels “because they’re generally ill, or seeking cosmetic/dental surgical procedures/enhancements,” while a “wellness tourist” travels because they’re “seeking integrated wellness/preventative approaches to improve their health/quality of life.”

Governments and private entities should not intermingle these tourisms at the language, organizational or marketing level.

Key Roadblock: Weak or Generic Promotion

Combining case study data (a global cross-section of national approaches: Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand), with the survey results, reveals that governmental promotion of these tourisms is often non-existent, inconsistent or “unbranded.”

Only 29% of respondents (globally) report their tourism organizations are actively promoting medical tourism, 35% for wellness tourism. (Only 17% report both domestic and international tourists are being targeted.)

North America lags Europe and Asia: Only 11% of U.S. and Canadian respondents report medical tourism is being promoted, 19% for wellness tourism.

57% of European executives report wellness tourism is being promoted, 41% for medical tourism.

57% of Asian executives report their country promotes medical tourism, 50% that they promote wellness tourism.

Arguably no country studied has developed a strong, unique national brand image for either medical or wellness tourism, even perceived market leaders.


Medical tourism marketers need to capitalize on/promote their true medical specialties.

Wellness tourism marketers need to communicate their wealth of indigenous, natural-asset-based wellness/healing traditions, as branding will become increasingly important as markets become more competitive.

Domestic, intra-regional and international medical and wellness tourists all need to be uniquely targeted.

Released at the GSS in Bali, Indonesia in May 2011, the report was a collaborative effort of Katherine Johnson, research scientist, SRI International; Dr. Laszlo Puczko, head of the Tourism Division, Xellum Ltd. (Hungary); Melanie Smith, PhD, lecturer/researcher, Corvinus University (Budapest); and Susie Ellis, Global Spa Summit Board Member.


JWT Explores Trends in Social Good

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 15, 2011 — In its September trend report, JWT, the global marketing communications brand, surveys trends in Social Good, or the drive to be responsible citizens and effect positive change.

“A number of macro trends are influencing social good initiatives today, including the call for greater transparency, as well as greater corporate and brand participation, rapid urbanization and advancements in technology,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. “As a result, we’re seeing less ‘goodwashing,’ creative strategies for urban renewal and innovative new donation channels from for-profits and nonprofits alike.”

The trend report is the result of quantitative, qualitative and desk research conducted by JWTIntelligence in partnership with EthosJWT, a unit specializing in brand strategy, ideas and activation for social change and social benefit. JWTIntelligence and EthosJWT interviewed experts and influencers from the nonprofit and corporate social responsibility sectors and conducted quantitative surveys in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. The surveys used SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, to poll 908 adults aged 18-plus from June 28-July 6, 2011.

The report explores four key trends:

  • The End of Goodwashing: Today’s consumers expect greater accountability from nonprofits as well as brands involved in cause marketing—e.g., exactly where the money is going and what impact it’s having. More transparency will mean more focus on effecting real change and less “goodwashing.”
  • The Rise of Shared Value: More corporations are starting to shift their business models, integrating social issues into their core strategies. The aim is to create shared value, a concept that reflects the growing belief that generating a profit and achieving social progress are not mutually exclusive goals.
  • Creative Urban Renewal: As the global population becomes more urbanized and cities boom, brands are becoming key partners in enabling creative strategies for urban renewal—improving local environments, adding beauty or helping to bring communities together.
  • Ripping a Page From the For-Profit Handbook: Nonprofit organizations are increasingly adopting for-profit tactics, fusing social consciousness with business acumen and focusing on achieving visible change.

“One of the most interesting developments in the area of social good is the rise of ‘shared value’—by putting social issues at the center of their strategy, brands can benefit their business, their customers and society in general,” says Tony Pigott, global director of EthosJWT and president and CEO of JWT Canada. “By reconsidering products and target demographics, forging partnerships with local groups and improving productivity in the value chain, companies can become a force for positive change while enhancing their long-term competitiveness.”

The report also outlines things to watch in the Social Good space, including gamification, new ways to incentivize online engagement and donation channel innovation, and highlights a number of standout case studies from around the world.

Findings from the surveys in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada include:

  • People are cynical about where their donations go: 88% of American, British and Canadian adults said they are “sometimes suspicious about how much of the money I donate actually goes to people in need, as opposed to management and administrative costs.” Britons (91%) were more apt to say this than Canadians (87%) and Americans (85%).
  • Consumers believe corporations should do more good: 9 in 10 respondents felt that “Companies need to do more good, not just less bad.” More Canadians (95%) felt this way than Britons (91%) and Americans (83%).
  • Brands have a responsibility toward local communities: 84% of adults across all three markets agreed with the statement, “Brands and large corporations have a responsibility to improve the local communities in which they do business.” Those in Canada (87%) and the U.K. (87%) agreed with this more than respondents in the U.S. (77%).

“Social Good” is available on JWTIntelligence.com. Click here to access the download registration form for free download.