CQ is the new EQ for executives

Second only to emotional intelligence (EQ), cultural intelligence (CQ) is fast becoming one of the most in demand skills for executives in today’s culturally diverse world of business.

The growing need for CQ is just one of the consequences of globalisation. It’s true that companies are setting up more bases in foreign countries than ever. But their own societies are simultaneously becoming more culturally diverse, as foreign citizens migrate in search of better career opportunities and lifestyles.

This means that culture is no longer a minor concern for executives. It’s a strategic imperative, and high-CQ leadership is needed to intelligently address this trend.

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Leadership? Only humans need apply

Ours is a disruptive world. Disruptors include AI, robotics, computerisation, globalisation and the imminent fourth industrial revolution. Already, a growing number of commercial and industrial processes are being dehumanised. So, are humans reaching their sell-by date?

Admittedly, people will have to adapt or cry (over lost jobs or diminished career prospects). The good news is that a stellar future awaits those who are flexible, resourceful, emotive and empathetic (in other words, the very human humans). This is especially true of corporate leaders who are developing coping strategies for the 2020s.

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CV or Not CV, "How True?" is the Question

Qualifications fraud is a big problem in South Africa and, although not prominent at executive level, it does happen. To stamp out this practice, the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Act 12 of 2019 was signed into law on the 13th of August this year. It provides that people presenting false qualifications could serve up to five years in prison.

Being a businessperson who depends on honest, qualified staff, I am very happy about this development. In a country where corruption is exposed daily and where honesty and trust need to be reinstated, it will help prevent further fraud and corruption. At least there is now a material penalty to deter recruits from using forged qualifications.

However, the law does not solve the larger issue of candidates lying on their CVs.

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Don’t be distracted from your pursuit of executive success

A growing mismatch is becoming apparent between the behaviour of international corporate achievers and their South African counterparts.

Offshore, upwardly mobile executives increasingly embrace ‘Deep Work’ and reduce distractions as they strive for quality outcomes and the type of successful track record that ensures progress up the corporate ladder.

In contrast, local executives often spend hours in inconclusive meetings, happily endure distraction via smart devices and seem to accept the curse of constant connectivity and 24/7 availability.

We see distraction aversion overseas versus distraction acceptance locally.

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The executive assistant: a special cog in the company wheel

a special cog in the company wheel

It takes a special person to be the executive assistant of a senior manager or director at a large or small company. It is a complex job that leaves no room for mistakes. In a world where artificial intelligence is increasingly taking over jobs and making them redundant, good executive assistants need not worry: it is unlikely that there will be a robot that can be a perfect executive assistant.

Gusti Coetzer*, director: executive search at Signium Africa, that offers integrated talent management solutions to employers, explains how complex the position of an executive assistant can be and how executive assistants can avoid common mistakes.

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Career risk mitigation – the way to go for corporate high flyers

Obsolescence. It happened to VCRs. It also happens to executives, even high flyers; especially the tunnel-vision variety that obsess about the job on hand.

Obsolescence no longer takes decades. It can happen at pace as technologies change and businesses react to new legislation, heightened competition and more demanding customers.

Forward-thinking executives increasingly realise they have to be fit for purpose today and in five years’ time. Obsolescence is a career risk and like any risk can be managed by putting proper mitigation strategies in place.

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Even Superwoman needs a sicknote occasionally

As South African Women’s Day rolls round again, we can draw satisfaction from the small victories achieved along the way. For instance, we have successfully challenged the old ‘weaker sex’ stereotypes. Unfortunately, the victory can be bitter sweet.

Our strength and resilience are acknowledged. So is our versatility. We are often praised for our multi-tasking abilities – a backhanded compliment as multi-tasking is largely a myth. Our coping skills are also lauded as we juggle the demands of home, children and career.

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Leadership going up a gear

Corporate leadership in South Africa is being redefined. A ‘safe pair of hands’ is still required, but increasingly the focus is shifting to greater dynamism. At CEO level, more and more organisations are looking for go-getters who deliver results at pace.

The change has been evident for some time but has reached critical mass in recent months as economic prospects have improved and private sector companies have sensed that opportunities for meaningful growth are at hand.

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Signium Africa

Talent is nothing without character


It's our most abundant resource
Address

23 Fricker Road,
Illovo, Sandton,
South Africa,
2196

Contact Details
Tel: +27 (0) 11 771 4800
Fax: +27 (0) 11 268 6318
Email: info@signium.co.za
Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa), a leading executive recruitment company based in South Africa offering head-hunting and leadership consulting services in sub-Saharan Africa. www.signium.co.za