The Execution Challenge for a New Decade
HLB Inaugural Survey of Business Leaders
Reasons to be confident, reasons to be wary
At the dawn of a new decade, we find half of the business leaders we surveyed pessimistic about the global economy, with factors including access to talent, regulatory chance and economic uncertainty topping their list of concerns. At the same time, business leaders seem strikingly confident about their own ability to grow their business.
In a time where political, economic, social and technological change is happening at accelerating speed, we found that business leaders understand the make-up of the successful business models of the future. However, are they doing enough to execute for the change that is needed to thrive in the 2020’s or is their speed of adaptation too slow?
New business models for a new decade
Business leaders across all sectors have a clear vision for ideal business models of the future. They are setting their sights on a more mobile, flexible, cloud-enabled business model fit for the future. And this reflects in their talent strategy: 81% of business leaders are exploring more flexible resourcing arrangements and 72% are trying to recruit more diverse employees with broader skill-sets. They are aware of new ways of working that will make them more agile and better suited to today’s business environment.
Preparing for new realities and an accelerated speed of change
Business leaders are keenly aware of the need to improve their agility and adaptability to remain competitive. Innovation and operational effectiveness are the top two areas CEOs are focused on strengthening. They recognise that turbulence can bring opportunities. Although only a quarter of business leaders have identified consumer acumen as an area to strengthen in their businesses, more than half is using market research to stay abreast of rapidly changing consumer behaviour. Research methods include social listening (45%), investing in improved CRM (43%) and analysing search (29%).
Harnessing new technology and scaling innovation
The digital revolution is not new and business leaders are well aware of its role in transforming the way organisations operate. Some technologies once viewed as disruptive have become important drivers of success, with AI and Cloud technologies ranking as most important. But while business leaders understand the revolutionary potential of new technologies, only 31% of respondents state that they are focused on strengthening digital capabilities. The demands of a rapidly evolving digital arena will force businesses to innovate or be left behind.
Bridging the performance gaps
If companies are to flourish in times of unprecedented change, they must be honest with themselves as to how their processes measure up again best in class. Although business leaders recognise the challenges ahead and characteristics of more agile business models of the future, it seems that they are focused on optimising – or fixing – existing processes, rather than adopting models more consistent with the demands of the contemporary economy. Across technology, innovation, operations and costumer acumen, there are gaps which need attention to maintain competitive and relevant in the 2020’s.