2040 Leaders: The Changing of the Guard

New business leadershipWho are the 2040 Leaders, and why should we care?

2040 Leaders are the young business professionals who are in positions of responsibility now, and have the focus and drive to achieve even greater things in their professional careers. They are the movers and shakers for the future – the leaders of 2040. And they are in the best position to step up today to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Yesterday’s Business Model

Way back when, businesses existed in stable hierarchies. There were line employees, supervisors, managers, directors, vice presidents, COOs and CEOs. You rose in the ranks of the rectangular organizational chart boxes by fitting the corporate model. Movement was structured and predictable – you either moved up a level in the pyramid, or took a strategic lateral move, for better pay or more opportunities. Your first job as a rookie in management was for two years, followed by a three year, then five year, then ten year stint, at which time you hit the peak of your career, led the organization with honor, and retired with a cake and punch party and a gold watch. But things changed.


The economic downturn wiped out wide swaths of middle management. Loyalty and commitment to employees crumbled to economic realities. The orderly career progression became history. Strong performance offered no protection from the dreaded pink slip. The organizational pyramid morphed into a fluid universe of continuous restructurings. Employment became an “as needed” relationship, with no guarantees for tomorrow, much less for a stable career path. Change came furiously, accelerating with every turn. The dynamics and impact of disruption are complex. 

The New Realities and New Opportunities

The new world order operates on a different framework. The organizational chart is out, and task-related alliances are in.  Change and the unknown are everyday realities. And this is the only business world the 2040 Leaders have known. What older leaders see as disruption and chaos is business as usual for the 2040 Leaders. The 2040 Leaders have achieved professional success in a universe very different from the world of the past. And they have done so because they have the perspectives, vision and skill sets which are aligned with the new business realities. New resources to support these leaders are taking business by storm.

The Challenge to New Leadership

The genie isn’t going back into the bottle. The business world isn’t going back to the 1990’s. Trying to force the 2040 Leaders to conform to the old models is an exercise in futility and failure. 2040 Leaders approach issues with different perspectives and different concepts from those whose careers were nurtured in the past. It’s time to galvanize the new guard to create the systems and solutions needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The challenges are daunting, but the potential for innovation is unlimited. Let’s let those who will inherit tomorrow step forward with the structures and processes to fit tomorrow’s realities.




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