Imagine you were part of the interview panel to decide whether Hillary or Donald got the job of CEO of USA? As the biggest leadership role on our planet, the end of interview wrap up discussions would be fascinating.

‘Hillary has certainly got bags of experience; she watched her husband do the role, she’s been around the Whitehouse for years, and now she herself is a senior politician on the global stage. But… mmm there’s something we just cant put our finger on, will she relate to all our stakeholders, will she earn their trust? Is she too established to deliver the change we need? Not sure.'

'Donald on the other hand, well what a character. From 0 to 100 in jig time. No political experience but what a confident manner. And he’s not scared of change, hell no- he’ll deliver a change programme before you can say Hillary’s stamina. But will his extreme views cause issues? Will his lack of political experience be a barrier to success internationally?'

Conventional wisdom in any organisation would probably dictate that we need to see a few more candidates, but of course this is politics and in a sense we get what we vote for (or don’t). 

Just this week the Telegraph’s undercover revelations about the serious misdemeanours of Sam Allardyce, now former England manager, with promises of more to come, have brought the whole sport into disrepute and raised serious questions about the rigour of the selection process for what is often regarded as the greatest leadership role in the UK next to the PM.

Against this backdrop it was refreshing to read of HSBC’s approach to succession planning, to ensure that the next CEO role is one which upholds the values of the organisation, and they don’t get caught short with a paucity of suitable candidates.

An FT report tells us that Russell Reynolds, a leading recruitment firm, will reportedly look for gaps in the UK bank’s roster of up-and-coming executives, identifying stand-out candidates that they can transform into the leaders of tomorrow.

Instead of just looking to find a replacement for CEO Stuart Gulliver or focus on succession planning, the firm aims to ensure that the bank has enough high-level management to ensure a smooth takeover when the time comes and it may be some time away.

Of course with regulators such as FCA focusing increasingly on culture as well as process, evidence of good leadership is becoming crucial for all banks post crash.

Google ‘leadership’ and it will take you years to wade through all of the wisdom that is written on the subject. If nothing else this tells us how important it is, we all know from loads of research from Gallup and others that people don’t always leave jobs, they leave bosses. 

The latest CCA quarterly benchmarking in our platinum member leadership forum threw up some interesting findings. We asked some straightforward questions about changing styles of leadership required for a digital age, and about the opportunities for those leading customer service to have greater enterprise wide leadership influence. 

  • 75% of respondents think that a new style of leadership is required for a digital customer service world. 
  • Worryingly, only 15% have a highly effective succession planning programme, however 70% believe this to be 'quite effective' so room for improvement. 

Just last week we hosted a small round table event at CCA HQ in Glasgow with senior customer service leaders who were women; the group quickly dismissed the idea of quotas and mandatory appointments based on gender, instead focusing on the required skills and attributes and a greater focus of leadership traits generally associated with women which could be adopted by board, regardless of gender; greater collaboration, hands on understanding to name a couple.

At the end of the day it seems that leadership is crucial in all of our working lives, as well as the  political and sporting worlds. It is a tricky business which requires constant nurturing, monitoring and involvement to ensure that we never settle for second best or least worst, whichever level of leadership we are dealing with.
CCA Convention 2016: Digital Social Mobile, has leadership as a strong thread running through the programme. Take a look here.