The Lead: California Energy Goals, Risks with Brexit, Global M&A

Welcome to The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights.

California’s Clean Energy Goals

California is already a leading state in generating electricity from solar panels and geothermal stations, and as of 2016, it got about two-fifths of its electricity from renewable forms of energy. California is further tightening its restrictions and just signed into law a bill committing the state to getting 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045. California is the second state (behind Hawaii) to put carbon-free energy into law.

Our View: Goal setting is a time-tested approach for achieving a long-term vision. Make SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and improve your leadership competencies by following these four steps:

  1. Provide context
  2. Imagine desired result
  3. Identify success measures
  4. Identify what data is available (or can be collected) to evaluate the success measures

Further Reading

Risks Associated with Brexit

The United Kingdom is looking for the right deal to make a secure exit and avoid losing potentially tens of thousands of jobs in the British car industry. There are a lot of risks associated with Brexit for the country that could carry over into mainland Europe and the United States. To help navigate the turbulence, Mark Carney will remain Bank of England governor until the end of January 2020.

Our View: Unpredictable and rapid changes make leadership roles more challenging, but leaders who are able to manage the complexity will find opportunities to thrive. Great leaders must cultivate certain traits to lead effectively in volatile and turbulent times. These traits include the ability to innovate, think strategically, manage global projects, and promote a culture of agile learning and adaptability. Furthermore, leaders who make time for reflection find it easier to learn from successes and failures. Further Reading

Global M&A Activity

Despite record setting M&A activity in 2017, 2018 has been a flat year for global M&A activity, and European companies have completed 11 percent fewer M&A deals year over year. A new report from Crunchbase and Mind the Bridge found that Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft are the world’s most active acquirers and U.S. and European companies continue to make up the majority of M&A deals.

Our View: Mergers and acquisitions require strong leadership to be effective. A merger or acquisition provides a robust opportunity to change company culture. During these wide scale changes, find ways to engage everyone across functions and levels. Manage the transitions that M&As create with the same best practices you employ for managing any project (such as getting buy-in from managers affected by the changes, setting goals, and gathering and adapting to feedback). Further Reading

Samsung’s AI Research Centers

Samsung just opened an AI center in New York City that will be led by Sebastian Seung, Executive Vice President of Samsung Research. Though some experts believe strict EU regulations will stunt the advancement of AI in Europe, great strides are being made by Samsung’s AI research facility in France which created more than 100 jobs.

Our View: While leadership, innovation, and sustainability are often studied separately, there are studies that delve into the relationship between them. These research findings indicate that developing a global mindset that values sustainability and concern for others is helpful for leading research and development at a company. Producing processes and systems that cultivate a culture of innovation can be achieved through developmental activities like experiential learning, action learning, and service learning. Leaders can develop their research teams by using the philosophy of servant leadership where power is shared and leaders work to serve their followers and not the other way around. Further Reading

The Great Importance of the Chief Human Resources Officer

According to consistent findings by McKinsey and the Conference Board, “CEOs worldwide see human capital as a top challenge, and they rank HR as only the eighth or ninth most important function in a company.” As CEOs face incredible challenges regarding hiring and retention, they should hire a Chief Human Resources Officer (if they don’t already have one) to gain the best insight into their people and culture. Prioritizing the development of talent and human resources yields exponential returns.

Our View: Good leadership is an essential ingredient for employee retention. Employees need to see authentic and heartfelt commitment from the top in order to feel valued and appreciated. Ask your employees how they define leadership and keep the lines of dialogue open around the discussion of leadership as it requires continuous exploration and communication. Further Reading