KLCM Study Overview

Rod Cartwright

Partner and Director, Global Corporate & Public Affairs Practice

Houston, we have a (pretty fundamental) problem… with leadership. That is the inescapable conclusion of the third annual Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor study (KLCM). The survey explored the views of more than 6,500 people in 13 countries across five continents on leadership, communication and the inherent link between the two.

With fewer than one in four respondents around the world believing that leaders are providing effective leadership, and just 13 percent scoring them strongly on accountability when things go wrong, there is much in our 2014 KLCM study for leaders of all kinds to consider. Additionally, with less than one-third believing that today’s leadership is based on clear values, and just 17 percent expressing optimism about seeing any improvement in leadership over the coming year, there is clearly work to be done.

What’s more, the fact that open, transparent communication for the third year in a row tops the list of attributes seen as important to effective leadership yet again reinforces the utter centrality of effective communication to reputational success and organizational health.

And we are not alone. The World Economic Forum’s recent survey of over 1,200 experts from its Network of Global Agenda Councils found that 86 percent of respondents agreed the world is facing a leadership crisis, with a global report from Bersin revealing that more than 60 percent of all companies in their research cited “leadership gaps” as their top business challenge.

With this in mind, the overall focus of our KLCM work – and of this edition of Perspectives – is on the practical lessons leaders, and those who guide them, can draw from three years of worldwide research as they seek to enhance the leadership they provide. Of course, this is all with effective communication at the heart of it. 

One edition of Perspectives can, of course, only scratch the surface of the wealth of practical insight revealed by this year’s research. Additional highlights from the study include:

  1. The fact that female leaders outperform their male counterparts on almost every one of the key attributes (five of the top seven, in fact) identified by the research as being the most critical to effective leadership communication. This signals the rise of a more “feminine” leadership communication model and ethos, with crucial lessons for leaders of both genders.
  2. The discovery of the “Leadership eVangelists” – a vocal subset of consumers who act as the highly trusted “family and friends” of leadership conversations and have a disproportionate impact on companies’ commercial and reputational outcomes.
  3. A direct and concrete link between leadership communication behaviors and commercial outcomes – with 61 percent of respondents globally having bought less or stopped purchasing altogether from companies demonstrating poor leadership communication.
  4. An even clearer picture of leadership perceptions by country and by industry – captured in our new KLCM Global Disillusionment Index and KLCM Global Industry Leadership Index – with China demonstrating by far the greatest faith in its leaders, Spain bringing up the rear geographically, and the technology sector again leaving all other industries trailing in its wake.

For more insights revealed by KLCM 2014, please visit www.ketchum.com/klcm