The final pages, in the PricewaterhouseCoopers 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, put forward that to plan effectively for the near future, CEOs might want to have a healthy appreciation of the surreal, superhuman qualities to provide the best leadership, X-ray vision and future-gazing abilities.

Whilst these final words are written with a smattering of irony, I am sure that for many, there is a tenor of truth to them.  In a world that is on fast-forward mode – literally changing before our eyes; technology evolving at lightning speeds, disrupting business models and predictive analytics and big data, you would be forgiven for wanting to hide behind a ‘cloak of invisibility’ occasionally!

I think, however, today’s CEO can perhaps take some comfort from the results of the recent PwC CEO survey, which interviewed 1300 company leaders from 77 countries, as it acknowledges and appreciates the hard task of running a business in the third millennium, and the need for continuous learning and adaptability as my summary outlines.

Three factors that the CEO’s said were vital to success.

  • Creating new value in new ways through digital transformation

‘ Boundaries across industries are becoming more and more blurred, because computing technology, digital technology is having such a profound influence on every industry…The next generation of successful companies, whether they are transformations of existing companies or completely new ones that emerge, will come at this intersection of taking traditional processes and activities and completely rethinking them… ‘

Dr. Vishal Sikka Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Infosys, India

Creating personalised and ongoing experiences that are increasingly in demand requires a full view of the customer and their relationships with the company which in turn requires an unprecedented level of customisation, responsiveness and innovation. This doesn’t happen by tinkering at the edges it requires a reconfiguration in operating models and perhaps business models. This means investing and deploying digital technologies in a smart and effective way.

Data analytics has transformed the ability of companies to access and analyse information about their customers and use that information to create the type of relationships that their customers want.

  • 80 % of CEO’s cite data mining and analysis as strategically important
  • 86% of CEO’s say a clear vision of how digital technologies can help achieve competitive advantage is the key to the success of digital investment requiring well thought out plans and concrete measures of success.

Managing cyber security and creating value in digital trust is central to doing business today.

All of this must be managed with both trust, privacy and confidentiality to the customer whose information is readily accessible – how companies honour this will mean much for their ability to engage with and retain customers and build brand value.

  • In a recent PwC poll of consumers, 24% said that their trust in companies’ ability to protect their personal data has declined over the past 12 months.
  • Developing diverse and dynamic partnerships

Today’s companies are becoming lighter with tighter core competencies and fewer assets.  They are achieving this through partnership networks in order to bolster capabilities. Businesses are no longer involved in selling lots of products, they are focusing more on what they are good at, the areas that their customers value.

‘I think that’s where

[the] point about doing all things for all people comes in. I don’t think you can…‘

Ross McEwan Group Chief Executive, RBS, UK

CEOs are starting to develop diverse collaborative networks to help drive innovation and co-create.

CEO’s are partnering or have considered partnering with suppliers, business networks, firms from other industries, academia, competitors, start-ups and NGOs

  • Finding different ways of thinking and working

‘We want people in the company that have differing ideas, differing experiences, differing opinions, because we need to solve our customers’ problems. The only way you do that in a world-class way is to bring a variety of people together and utilise their collective know-how. Diversity and inclusion will make us that much more competitive in the marketplace.‘

Denise Ramos Chief Executive Officer and President, ITT Corporation, US

85% of the CEOs whose organisations have a diversity and inclusiveness strategy say it’s enhanced business performance.

Creating an environment for success means having strategies to tackle such issues as unconsciously-held biases, as well as having decision-making processes to encourage divergent thinking – what’s needed are people who are different across all dimensions such as life situations, experiences, perspectives and personalities.

Putting measures in place to help a wide range of talent to succeed is important for developing leaders who can think and work in different ways.

What powers do you need?

As this summary outlines the CEO needs vision, agility and flexibility in their decision-making and to listen and learn from the team they build around them. The digital transformation period means businesses need to re-evaluate their capabilities.

Integral to profitable growth is a focus on the core competencies of the business, a robust portfolio of product and service offerings aligned with compelling customer value propositions and competitive differentiation.

Access the PwC report titled; ‘A marketplace without boundaries? Responding to disruption.’

At Marketing Sense, we work in partnership with organisations, every day, to create better customer value, through the building of brands and customer value propositions that customers find relevant and appealing.

So, if you feel in the mood for some future gazing, over a kryptonite flavoured coffee sometime, get in touch.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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