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Starting Strong 2024 Trend Report: What’s on Top of Mind for Leaders?

The Cosmic Centaurs 2024 Starting Strong Report reveals the organizational trends shaping the year ahead. We collected insights and predictions from remarkable leaders from across the region who shed light on the priorities that are keeping them up at night, and that they believe leaders will be laser-focused on this year. Here are the 12 organizational trend predictions for 2024:  

1. Holistic Leadership

Leaders will adopt a more holistic approach to leadership.

Our increasingly dynamic and complex world calls for leaders to look at their organization as a whole, interconnected system, rather than a group of individual(or siloed) functions. Holistic leaders recognize that every decision, every change, and every action has repercussions throughout the entire system. 

Sharing her perspective on this at the 2023 Cosmic Conference opening event, Marilyn Zakhour CEO & Founder of Cosmic Centaurs said, Holistic leaders understand that their role isn't just about making strategic decisions; it's about maintaining visibility and influence over the entire system, ensuring that it functions as a cohesive whole. Ensuring that they are managing the collective performance of the organization.”  

2. AI Integration

Teams will integrate AI-powered tools into their ways of working.

According to Dr. Christiane Mueck, Co-Founder and Advisor at INTO Financial Coaching, 2023 was a time of both worry and excitement as we saw AI’s potential to create new things while also realizing it would mean big changes to how organizations and individuals work. 

“The time for excuses is over in 2024. This year, look at your business model, figure out how it is impacted by AI, and what you can do about it,” she said.

Generative AI models like ChatGPT are no longer just assistants, they're collaborators, or extensions of our teams, that seamlessly integrate into daily workflows. AI will transform how we work from automating tasks to driving efficiency and streamlining collaboration. For more on how you can learn about the AI tools that will support your workflows, check out this article. 

3. Upskilling & Reskilling

Leaders will invest in building the capabilities of their workforce, choosing tailored training programs over one-off workshops.

Data shows that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, and 87% of companies say they either are experiencing gaps now or expect them within a few years. Upskilling & reskilling in the form of personalized learning paths (and not one-off workshops) that build the skills and capabilities needed to future-proof their teams will create a more resilient and agile workforce. 

4. The Gig Economy & Flexibility

Leaders will embrace and integrate truly flexible work models in 2024.

As traditional employment structures become less rigid, the gig economy will continue to flourish. We'll see an increase in freelance work, contract roles, and project-based collaborations.

Truly flexible organizations will adapt to meet the needs of these employees, designing an employee experience that nurtures talent of all types and reaps the benefits flexibility has on employee retention and productivity.

5. Efficiency & Productivity

Leaders will focus on maximizing productivity 

“According to Atlassian, the #1 challenge for executives among Fortune 500 Companies is productivity,” shared Iwo Szapar, Co-founder & Head of Remote at Remote-first Institute.

“Efficiency in processes, workflows, or upskilling. Leaders invest in this because it is the easiest way to improve your business.” Optimizing an organization will also drive employee engagement and morale.


6. Ambidexterity

Leaders will focus on doing present and future, short-term and long-term. 

According to HBR, an ambidextrous organization has separate units for 1) execution that is, using existing capabilities to deliver, and 2) innovation exploring and experimenting with radical ideas. Research shows that Ambidextrous organizations are significantly more successful at achieving breakthrough innovations compared to other structures and that these companies can renew themselves by pioneering disruptive new offerings and technologies without harming their core businesses. 

“Every good leader should be focused on building an organization that can do both: execute with a high degree of excellence, and take risks and innovate to stay agile and capture future value,” said Marilyn Zakhour.  

7. Explaining the Context

Leaders will communicate clearly with their employees, and explain the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to them.

According to Fahad Habib, Founder of Boost Consulting Redefined, leaders who share the ‘why’ behind the work create alignment and help employees understand what they’re contributing to. This also inspires employee alignment, fostering stronger commitment and a deeper contextual understanding.

8. Employee Retention

Leaders will (re)prioritize employee retention in 2024.

Losing skilled employees is costly to organizations. Leaders who prioritize retaining talent nurture a positive work environment by building trust, respect, and open communication and offer meaningful work that aligns with employee values will see increased employee loyalty and decreased hiring costs. According to Jonathan Strum, Chairman At AlgiSys KSA / FermenTek, in 2024 leaders will prioritize spending time with their employees and staying attuned to their needs. 

9. Employee Experience & Well-being

Organizations will adopt a more personalized approach to well-being and allow employees to (co)design how they create value, and how they care for their well-being.

A one-size-fits-all approach to employee experience & well-being initiatives assumes all employees recharge and create value in the same way. Organizations hosting company-wide yoga events, or offering free fruit baskets across their workplaces do not consider the individuality of their workforce. Organizations that swap out generic employee experiences and well-being programs for initiatives (co)designed by employees will see increased engagement, performance, and happiness. 

10. Operations

Leaders will focus on streamlining operations in 2024.

“We’re going to upgrade our communication software, put things into little boxes, and make sure that people know what they’re responsible for and get it done,” said Ziad Hussami, Co-founder of Mruna.

Leaders will focus on improving communication across departments and functions to break down silos. Streamlining operations demands looking for opportunities to automate repetitive tasks and leverage technology to smooth workflows while optimizing the speed at which work gets done without sacrificing quality. Smooth operations translate directly into improved communication and minimized risk.

11. Human Connection

Leaders will prioritize connecting with their employees and customers in 2024.

Technology connects us globally, but it can't replicate the power of human connection that fuels innovation and collaboration. Vinisha Rathod, Partner at Think & Grow, predicts leaders will prioritize being connected to customers and each other in 2024. This means having genuine interactions (such as meaningful conversations using Cosmic Conversations) and collaboration, even in remote or hybrid work environments.

12. Cross-functional Collaboration

Leaders will prioritize cross-functional collaboration.

According to Lara Fakih, Strategic Projects Director at AstroLabs,  it’s important to prioritize cross-company projects between teams in 2024. Such cross-functional collaboration drives higher employee engagement and a more creative and innovative work environment.

“They promote cultural closeness, and alignment and help leaders understand the gaps in their team. These projects act as training grounds for adaptability and help individuals gain the chance to learn new skills and collaborate with diverse peers.”

As we settle into 2024, it's natural to reflect on the trends shaping our world and when it comes to the world of work, this year promises to bring continued change. From AI, to explaining the context, to operations, leaders who embrace these emerging trends with agility will see their organizations thrive. For more insights and in-depth perspectives about 2024 organizational trends, subscribe to our newsletter and watch our live report on YouTube


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