How Johnson & Johnson and American Express Are Developing Young Leaders

Over the next decade, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers will retire every day. Young leaders will have substantial opportunity to climb the corporate ladder — by 2030, millennials alone will comprise three out of every four individuals in the U.S. workforce — and companies will increasingly grapple with how to accelerate the development of those individuals for leadership positions.

We heard this leadership dilemma from multiple companies that participated in our research on the leadership perspectives of C-suite executives and millennial leaders, which was co-produced by our three organizations, The Conference Board, RW2 Enterprises, and DDI. The study examined the management and development preferences of America’s young and rising corporate leaders.

When the research showed the growing premium that companies place on high-speed development, we decided to follow up with some of the study’s participants to hear more. The accelerated development programs at American Express and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), specifically, caught our attention. (Disclosure: One of us, Ron, serves on the board of directors of American Express and Johnson & Johnson, and these companies are members of The Conference Board.) We share these examples here to illustrate how these forward-thinking companies are working now to address their future talent needs.
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