Business leaders around the world feel least prepared to execute on strategies for driving growth— among them, large-scale transformation, open innovation, digital channels, and talent management, according to a global survey released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
“This survey gave us an opportunity to hear directly from business leaders about how they view the requirements for success in a fast-changing, global economy,” says Patrick Ducasse, a senior partner at BCG. “Growth, fitness, adaptability, connectivity, stewardship—these are the things that separate the winners from the losers. It is clear from our survey that a significant proportion of top executives are not prepared for the biggest challenges.”
Respondents identified talent management as the most significant pain point, representing the largest gap between importance and preparedness. Overall, 76 percent of leaders ranked this challenge as important, while only 18 percent felt prepared for it.
Consumer and retail industry leaders indicated that they feel least prepared for the challenges of the digital revolution (highest gap between importance and preparedness as compared to other industries).
Nevertheless, they rated leveraging customer data (70 percent) and supply-chain excellence (66 percent) as most important, thus underscoring the need for understanding customers and monitoring and controlling the interdependencies of increasingly complex international supply chains.
U.S. executives ranked growth in existing markets as their top priority, while European executives focused on making operations more flexible and efficient. Leaders from the BRIC and Asia-Pacific regions ranked both as equally important, with executives from the latter stressing growth in new markets as a point for expansion.
When questioned on adaptability, leaders of large companies indicated that they feel less prepared (17 percent felt prepared). Small companies seem to have an edge over enhancing the skills needed to read the signals of change and to act upon them in time (22 percent felt prepared). Moreover, the preparedness to be adaptive and efficient surfaced as a vital measure of performance, representing the largest difference between below- market and above-market performers.
“If companies are to take advantage of the growth opportunities around the world, then they need to develop the requirements for success,” says Ducasse.