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10 Hot Leadership Topics for 2017

By Stephanie Neal

Stephanie Neal

What are the big leadership ideas, converging as we begin 2017, that will shape the year ahead?

Last year we analyzed content shared by 20 HR and leadership influencers to identify 10 top themes for 2016. This year, we are looking back to see what has changed and providing an analysis of the new leadership topics emerging that deserve attention in the year ahead.

Based on text analysis of content shared by 20 top influencers on Twitter (see the list at the end of this post), we identified the topics that were most commonly shared across the group in the months leading up to 2017. The results are depicted in the word cloud, with the most popular topics indicated in dark and bright blue.

10 Hot Leadership Topics

In comparison to this point last year, the five hottest topics emerging for 2017 (those indicated in bright blue) are:

  • AI (or in its long form, Artificial Intelligence)
  • Productivity
  • Robots
  • Automation
  • Data and Analytics

Among these rising topics are three that didn’t even make the list last year: AI, robots and automation. While these were not strong topics on the influencer radar before, it may be no surprise that they gained attention in a year that saw Uber begin testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, and in which Amazon announced the launch of a checkout-free (and cashier-free) store. AI also tops the list of Gartner’s Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that some popular topics plunged down the list this year (indicated in red-orange in the word cloud).  These five topics garnered far less attention toward the end of 2016 as they did at the same point in time last year:

  • Diversity
  • Millennials
  • EQ
  • Network
  • Evolution

Diversity and Millennials were two big surprise drops on this list since they have been among the most-covered topics in shifting workplace demographics over the past year. We don’t see them going away anytime soon, but can’t help but wonder—does this indicate a risk of key workplace trends growing tired or being over-hyped, or are they simply falling down the list to make way for topics that reflect significant shifts in the challenges people face in working with and leveraging new technologies?

We will continue to take measure of these and other critical leadership topics when our Global Leadership Forecast survey with EY and The Conference Board launches next month. What will we learn this time? Join us to gain early access to insights from the research and to receive a copy of the full report.

20 Leadership and HR social influencers who contributed content for this analysis:

Aadil Bandukwala @aadil
Abhijit Bhaduri @AbhijitBhaduri
Adam Grant @AdamMGrant
Cheryl Cran @cherylcran
China Gorman @ChinaGorman
Dave Ulrich @dave_ulrich
David K Williams @DavidKWilliams
Jacob Morgan @jacobm
Jennifer McClure @JenniferMcClure
Jim Stroud @jimstroud
Jon Ingham @joningham
Josh Bersin @Josh_Bersin
Lolly Daskal @LollyDaskal
Bobby Raehan @raehanbobby
Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady
Sharlyn Lauby @sharlyn_lauby
Stacy Donovan Zapar @StacyZapar
Mark Stelzner @stelzner
Steve Boese @SteveBoese
Trish McFarlane @trishmcfarlane

Stephanie Neal is a research scientist for the Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research (CABER).

Posted: 06 Jan, 2017,
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