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Microsoft named leaders of the tech pack

Ranking the best companies for leadership across the world, Microsoft has been named the leading tech organisation by consulting firm Hay Group.

In what could be seen as a boost for the soon to be retired CEO Steve Ballmer, the software giant came 2nd in the eighth annual Best Companies for Leadership Study and Top 20 list.

Examining how companies nurture talent and foster innovation in their ranks, this year, Procter & Gamble topped the list, followed by Microsoft, General Electric and Coca-Cola.

“The Best Companies for Leadership recognise that many of the skills once required solely for senior leadership roles - high levels of emotional intelligence, commitment to continuous learning, analytical thinking - are now critical at every level of the organisation,” says Jacqui Millar, GM, Hay Group New Zealand.

“To excel in today’s highly complex and competitive business environment, the Best Companies are taking deliberate steps to develop and reward these competencies to enable their organisations to achieve operational excellence today, while driving innovation for tomorrow.”

Developing talent

According to the study, such companies are purposeful and strategic in developing, enabling and motivating leaders throughout the organisation to do their best.

In fact, 73 per cent of the Top 20 companies reported giving everyone at every level of the organisation the opportunity to develop and practice the capabilities needed to lead others, compared to only 47 per cent of all other companies.

These future-focused companies also look ahead to what roles are - and will be - mission-critical to their success, and then intentionally identify and develop leaders with the right skills to fill those roles.

To facilitate this process, the Top 20 companies reported doing more to develop their population of new and mid-level managers, with higher usage rates of web-based leadership modules (72 per cent vs. 39 per cent at all other companies), classroom-based leadership training (80 per cent vs. 55 per cent) and mentoring by a senior manager or executive (68 per cent vs. 39 per cent).

Innovation

Millar says companies such as Microsoft help foster a culture that encourages innovation.

“It’s becoming harder to create and run profitable businesses in traditional ways,” she says.

"Organisations have to think differently about how they relate to their markets.

"The Best Companies are adept at anticipating and meeting client needs at multiple points along the consumer spectrum.

"They’re shifting from selling products and services to becoming integrated business partners that can help their customers solve pressing needs.”

Communication

According to Millar, 90 per cent of the Top 20 companies reported that senior leaders communicate that the firm’s survival depends on adapting to evolving market trends, compared to 70 per cent at all other companies.

“In times of rapid change, many companies lose their focus, failing to adequately engage and enable their current workforce as the organisation shifts to achieve short term or immediate objectives,” she concludes.

“Those companies that simultaneously execute on immediate priorities while aligning their employees with a shared sense of purpose and develop leaders at all levels to contribute and act on innovative ideas have a better chance at financial success.”

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