• 50% Indian businesses believe their successors will be appointed from within the business

48% Indian businesses are either using or have used the services of a business coach to develop their leadership skills

New research from Grant Thornton reveals that 50% of Indian business leaders believe their successors would come from within the business while 26% say their next in line would come from outside the business, from a competitor organisation or different sector. Surprisingly 23% of the business leaders haven’t even considered as to where their successors would come from.

The UAE (54%) tops the list of countries where business leaders see their successors coming from within the business while in the Nordic countries, only 21% of business leaders subscribe to this view. While in BRIC nations as a whole, 40% businesses hold this view, globally 43% business leaders see their successors coming from within the business.

This survey, which involved 3500 interviews with senior executives in 45 economies, also asked business leaders as to whether they were engaging the services of a business coach to further refine their leadership skills. It was found that 48% of businesses in India are either using or have used the services of a business coach to develop their leadership skills. This is in line with the trends in the BRIC and APAC (41% each) and higher than the global average of 35%.

When business leaders were asked about the factors that help them grow their own leadership capabilities, 74% business leaders in India said that their personal leadership skills assessments help them do so, followed by leadership skills assessments from staff (60%) and setting challenging goals & monitoring progress (56%).

Business leaders were also asked how important certain attributes are to good leadership. Globally, integrity, a positive attitude and communication came out on top. In India, positive attitude (98%), communication (94%), ability to inspire (98%) and confidence (96%) were among the top leadership attributes.

Vinamra Shastri – Partner, Business Advisory Services at Grant Thornton, an assurance, tax and advisory firm said: “It is heartening to see that a large number of business leaders have thought about the issue of succession, which is critical to the long-term growth and sustainability of every business. If 50% of businesses believe that their successors would come from within the business, it becomes imperative for them to spend significant time in coaching future leaders in their organisations. These findings are significant in the view of a proposal being considered by SEBI, which, if implemented, will make it mandatory for all listed Indian companies to put a succession plan in place. This is part of the efforts being made by capital market regulator to protect the interests of investors in the event of the untimely death, departure or poor performance of a leader; all of which usually do hurt investor interests.”

Vinamra adds, “Business leaders in Asia have been able to observe how management techniques in the West have evolved and matured. The research shows that rather than simply copying and replacing management techniques, they are blending them with their own cultural and management practices to adapt a ‘third way’ for their local market.”