Well, okay. So maybe every high-performing global leader doesn’t really need to have aced that university differential equations course. But the essence of differential calculus—the pursuit of understanding of how things change—IS critical for today’s leading corporate executive. Whether in a for-profit company or not, the financial services or the airline industry, if you aren’t anticipating how the quantities that affect your business are (or might be) changing, you are likely to find yourself chasing the curve, not preparing to ride the next, oncoming wave.

Today’s global recruiting and business leaders share a related, if monumental, challenge: how to not just manage—but strategically anticipate—their organization’s fast-moving talent requirements that sit as the dynamic intersection of complex, increasingly borderless global product and talent markets.

U.S. News & World Report’s coverage of CLC Recruiting’s latest Quarterly Global Labor Market Briefing showed differential calculus at work in the labor market (in spite of the misquote…should read “…as the recession [not recovery] took hold…”).

For the first time in over 5 years, CLC Recruiting’s proprietary Active-Passive Index (a measure of job search activity/passivity) showed a drop in the percentage of candidates in the global (and U.S.) labor market not looking for a new job—from 47% to 43%. That is still much more passive than the 2006 global labor market, when only 22% of employees were passive. But, the significant drop should encourage leaders—even those who opted out of math—to contemplate this: How would you change your functional or business strategy if the global labor market is at multi-year inflection point?

Even if it isn’t, the question is worth considering, so you are prepared to catch—not chase—the next wave.