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The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

Organizations worldwide are experiencing business-morphing challenges at an unprecedented rate. Entire industries are being disrupted, with many becoming obsolete. As organizations attempt to adjust to this hypercompetitive, technology-driven environment, they recognize that leadership is not just a competitive edge; it may be the difference between success and failure.

U.S. companies spend about $14 billion a year on leadership development, which is about 35% of their entire learning and development budget, accord- ing to a 2015 article in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. However, a 2016 survey of HR professionals found that only 15% were satisfied with their leadership bench, according to research by the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD).

Many leadership development experts speculate that the dissatisfaction with an organization’s leadership bench results from a mismatch between the existing skills of leaders and the skills needed today. This lack of alignment is thought to be the result of an environment often described as volatile, uncer- tain, complex and ambiguous, or simply known as VUCA.

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