CEOs hit the ground running, but need to future-proof for long-term success

Growth, hiring, and effective decision making were the key challenges for Australian CEOs during 2017. Now with 2018 in full swing; technology, culture and productivity will be the pressure points that force CEOs out of their comfort zone this year.

That’s what the findings of the Quarter 4 2017 TEC Confidence Index show, but how leaders adapt and overcome their unique business challenges is set to be no different.

Business forecast upbeat

The year is off to a great start with CEOs around Australia optimistic about the future, with growth firmly in their sights. Sales, profitability and headcount are all expected to see an increase in the next 12 months.

It seems the strong economy is lifting confidence and creating a stable environment for growth. The NAB Quarterly Business Survey revealed that in December 2017, business confidence increased to its highest level since July 2017[1]; aligning with our findings that reveal CEOs anticipate economic conditions will improve in the next 12 months.

CEOs get their house in order 

Australia’s leaders know that growth will only come if the business is set for success. The three key decisions CEOs will be making this year relate to strategy, business processes and culture.

Strategy including planning, succession and mergers and acquisitions are the number one priority for business leaders as they seek to develop strategies which will help them evolve and adapt to external influences.

The second area of attention is optimising business processes, including sales, operational efficiencies and managing customer expectations. Its clear leaders understand that creating a strong foundation will help leverage growth and boost productivity.

Finally, HR decisions continue to weight heavy on the minds of business leaders; with culture, productivity and hiring at the forefront of decision making.

By identifying the areas of the business that require the most attention, organisations can ensure appropriate processes are in place and working seamlessly to boost growth.

Upskilling trumps hiring new talent

The skills shortage and the war for talent continues to be an issue for leaders. In Quarter 3 2017 business leaders focused their efforts on boosting wages to attract skilled workers, however this quarter they’ve changed tact.

CEOs have decided to prioritise upskilling their current workers in 2018. By developing the skills, ability and experience of existing employees, leaders hope to implement a sustainable approach to help achieve business growth.

The big business threat

The new Mandatory Data Breach Notification laws means all businesses must report any data breaches, whether perceived or confirmed, to authorities and the general public.

It’s therefore surprising that 37 per cent of organisations do not have a cyber security strategy in place that’s communicated to executive leaders.

This is especially concerning following the release of a recent report from PwC which reveals 89 per cent of Australian CEOs cite cyber threats as the greatest risk to their business.

As technology, innovation and disruption continue to change the corporate environment CEOs must develop new strategies to keep pace and stay ahead. The Executive Connection remains dedicated to supporting leaders as they make decisions that positively impact the business in the short and long term.

 

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