The New Leadership Pathway: Ron Price at ATD International Conference

I recently had the privilege of attending and speaking at the 2016 International Conference of the Association for Talent Development ( Over 10,000 attendees from around the world gathered in Denver, Colorado to share their common interests in identifying, developing and promoting talent at work.

Simon Senek spoke about the future of leadership, sharing several anecdotes from his latest book, “Leaders Eat Last.” Brene Brown spoke about courage and vulnerability as key traits of effective leadership.  Both keynotes emphasized the role that learning and development will have in successful leadership for the future.

I was refreshed by the opportunity to step back and think about the pathway leadership will take in coming years. In my presentation, “Winning The Global Talent War”, we explored the new challenges millenials will face as they take the baton of leadership from retiring boomers. This new generation of leaders, born roughly from 1980 - 2000, already represents a majority of our workforce, with roughly 50% of them already serving in supervisory roles. The organizations they lead in the coming years will be distinctly different in the following ways:

  • Organizational design is going through an unstoppable transformation, with the traditional hierarchal leadership model being replaced by more fluid, purposeful networks of teams.
  • The digital transformation is still in its early stages, with more disruption and opportunity lurking around the corner.
  • Global opportunities and competition are here to stay.  Small and medium sized businesses have access to markets never before available, while also being vulnerable to better competition from almost anywhere in the world.
  • The workforce is becoming more diverse in every way possible, and for those who understand the potential inherent in this expanding diversity, this is one of our greatest opportunities.  However, to tap into this new energy, leaders will need to develop new skills of empathy, collaboration and influence.
  • Leadership influence is dispersing beyond organizational structures to the new reality that everyone is a leader.  The greatest sources of influence in the future will come from expertise and character regardless of title or position.

Our conversation then moved from a discussion about the future to addressing the immediate question of how we can prepare ourselves to win the global talent war. We looked at substantive ways to define talent, develop new competencies and accelerate performance. I shared seven different sciences we use in our work to understand the unique talents of each individual and then create a more informed pathway to competency development. We also reviewed a multi-faceted approach to leadership development, along with case studies of how we have deployed this approach successfully in several countries and organizations. Finally, we presented a fresh, easy-to-implement model for accelerating high performance in the business of the future.  

If you would like a copy of my slide deck, it is available upon request at I would like to offer a special “thank you” to the Association for Talent Development for another great international conference. Next year, we will meet in Atlanta on May 21 – 14 (