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Three Key Leadership Priorities for 2024: A CEO view

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As newly appointed CEO, David will lead the implementation of SMG’s growth strategy across the region and help realise our intent to take a global best-practice approach to all our clients. David brings to the role experience in finance, strategy, strategic sales, general management, business transformation and M&A from iconic global companies such as Arthur Andersen consulting, Lion Nathan Ltd, National Foods and George Weston Foods (Associated British Foods Plc).  As well as being a qualified Chartered Accountant, David holds an MBA and a MSc in Coaching Psychology from the University of Sydney.  

It’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to have been appointed to the role of CEO of such a prestigious professional services firm.

I look forward to working with our valued and respected clients, supported by our wonderful team of executive coaches, mentors and leadership experts.

Reflecting on the challenges ahead, I think as a business community we are facing a generational convergence of macro-economic and sociological developments. 

Increasing geopolitical tensions, excessive inflation, accelerating digitisation, and a new paradigm with on-going employee expectations for hybrid working.

These developments are driving cost management issues for business, issues for people dealing with everyday cost of living challenges and creating a greater need for cyber and technology capabilities. The expectations around hybrid working present additional challenges on driving organisational alignment, cohesion, and connection. 

I believe we are at an inflexion point for modern leaders, which we have not seen since the emergence of people leadership as a new approach to business management. 

This requires a new approach where both established and emerging leaders are better equipped to deal with fast change in increasingly complex social and organisational ecosystems.  

 

I think we can break this down to three key challenges: 

How do we help our leaders:

  • Develop broader more inclusive perspectives?
  • Build their skills to connect and drive organisational alignment and engagement with an increasingly diverse, and dispersed, workforce?
  • Embrace the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly digital world?

 

I believe we can address these challenges with a more sophisticated and systemic approach to organisational leadership.

In 2024, three of the key priorities for leaders are: 

  1. Building leaders’ perspective taking capacity so as they can hold multiple, often competing views, at one time, to co-create more inclusive and ultimately better business solutions.
  2. Enhancing leaders’ communication and relationship building skills to facilitate a greater sense of community and cohesion among dispersed and diverse teams.
  3. Building new ways of working and new ways of thinking in the emerging digital world, not only as a necessary requirement but a potential source of competitive advantage. Supporting established leaders to embrace our emerging leaders as digitisation thought leaders.

 

These are just a few of the challenges I will be exploring in my new role, and I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can in the coming months. 

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David Wallace is the CEO of SMG Australia and Asia.

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