Evolve or die: How today’s CEOs must balance the here & now with future prospects
recently released their 26th
Annual Global CEO Survey, and while the outcomes might
be eyebrow-raising, they probably won’t come as a major surprise to most senior
survey, which included answers from almost 4,500 CEOs in over 100 countries and
territories, found that:
- 40% of
CEOs don’t think their business will be economically viable in 10
years if it continues on its current trajectory
a huge loss in CEOs’ confidence in revenue growth over the next 12
months - down 26% since the last survey
- CEOs want
to spend more time evolving their business, but spend on average 53%
of their time on current performance
interesting to note that these are global figures, and some statistics look
quite different from country to country. For example, the global average of 40%
of CEOs believing that their business won’t be economically viable in 10 years
swings from Japanese answers at a rather incredible 72% to the more hopeful US
answers at 20%. The UK also comes in on a more optimistic note than average at
What are CEOs spending their time on?
survey shows that CEOs believe they’re spending too much time at an operational
level, rather than looking at how they can drive the business forward and
succeed in the future.
is reflected in my conversations with clients. But we do have to constantly
remind ourselves that we are living in extraordinary times. Following a global
pandemic, we have adapted to a different way of working during a negative macro
economic cycle and commodity price explosion. That’s not to mention the
environmental and sustainability challenges we’re facing that require
businesses to act now.
while there are reasons for CEOs to be spending a lot of time on the
day-to-day, it does have negative consequences. Without a focus on strategic
direction, organisations can go off-course, and that impacts future success.
There’ll also be missed opportunities for growth and innovation and a real risk
of failing to anticipate changes in the market or competitive landscape.
solution? It’s not just prioritisation, delegation and time management - it’s
in your people. At Hanover, we’ve been working with clients specifically on building
stronger and more effective senior teams.
Hiring the right executive talent,
nurturing them to achieve success and creating a culture of collaboration,
communication and trust, is a top priority.
What CEOs think they should be spending their time on
to the PwC survey, if CEOs could redesign their calendars, they’d “spend more
time evolving the business and its strategy to meet future demands”. Their
ideal ratio is 43% on driving current operational performance, and 57% on
evolving the business. (The actual statistics are 53% on operational
performance and 47% on the future.)
from reorganising time, another top priority for CEOs is technology investment,
including upskilling people, automation and new technologies. And no wonder.
The pace of technology change is accelerating so quickly because the rate of
development, and transformation, ironically, is a constant.
for transformation to be effective, CEOs need good leaders - and there’s a
skills shortage. That means you need to be good at hiring and outsourcing
to ensure you get the best talent - and tech leaders need to become better at
communication, recruitment, staff retention and development.
CEOs: Going it alone or spearheading a team?
really critical finding from the survey was how much a company’s success relies
on the CEO. In my experience, successful businesses have a powerhouse of an
executive team, and while the buck might stop with the CEO, the strategy,
drive, innovation and transformation are a team effort.
figures surprised me:
- 76% of
CEOs said that leaders in their company make strategic decisions without
consulting the CEO only rarely, occasionally or sometimes
said that leaders in their company encourage dissent and debate only
rarely, occasionally or sometimes
first demonstrates to me a lack of trust. Without trust, it’s very difficult to
create a solid executive team. Without a solid executive team, you can lose
direction, see a ripple effect of negativity through the business and weaken
your ability to innovate and grow.
second figure would also concern me as a CEO. The most successful businesses
are open to new ideas, different perspectives and a variety of opinions.
Without this, it’s much easier for businesses to stagnate, struggle to innovate
or stay ahead of the competition.
the results of this survey tell me that CEOs could be investing much more time
and effort in their leadership teams. Not only by hiring high-performing talent
into the right roles, but also by building an effective team that can have a
positive impact across the business. A team that will tackle the challenges
many organisations are facing at the moment and drive future success.
If you’d like to talk to me about recruiting executive leaders who can help your business grow into the future, contact me directly and let’s set up time for a chat.