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CEOs: Stay confident in the face of uncertainty

By Catherine Knowles
Tue 2 Feb 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

An overwhelming number of CEOs (59%) believe economic uncertainty means they will have to make significant compromises within their organisation, despite the fact that confidence and risk taking are crucial for business growth.

According to independent research by BSI, economic uncertainty along with disruptive competition and information security, are key threats to organisational resilience.

The survey reveals how fragile modern operations with global supply chains are. It shows that two thirds (64%) of bosses admit that the concept of organisational resilience is inconsistently understood across their business, despite 70% believing it to be vital to the long-term viability of their operation.

On the flipside, 28% of CEOs are confident they secure an advantage in the market from organisational resilience, almost half (49%) claiming it enhances their company’s reputation and 39% suggesting it has improved their organisation’s competitiveness through quicker and better targeted responses to opportunities.

The survey found short-term financial thinking, a lack of skills and a failure to focus on the management of resilience is holds back the ability to boost the quality of products and services.

Howard Kerr, BSI chief executive, says, “CEOs may become so risk averse that they’re not only missing out on opportunities, but potentially undermining the long-term resilience of their organisations.

“Leaders need to have confidence in the ability of their team to remain agile and adaptive, while maintaining robust processes in the face of uncertainty.

“Ultimately today’s challenging conditions offer an opportunity to forge stronger team dynamics and delivery.”

Another key finding of the survey was that product quality control scandals at more specialist organisations/suppliers have led to serious repercussions for the firms they supply. 

The BSI research reveals the consequence of such activities and shows that the majority of firms both large and small worry about compromising standards.

Just a quarter (24%) of CEOs at firms with revenues under $500 million per annum are totally satisfied with their organisation’s quality control processes, while this rises to only a third (31%) at larger firms.

Worldwide, more than half of CEOs (52%) attributed failures in organisational resilience to a lack of skills amongst their workforce.

In a signal as to the importance of the issue, more than half (57%) of CEOs take personal responsibility for driving organisational resilience across their business.

Just a quarter (25%) entrusted responsibility to colleagues below C-level in their seniority.

Kerr says, “Change must be led from the top. Organisations can be surprisingly naive, ignoring advice and best practice until they experience a setback themselves.

“CEO resignations aren’t just token sacrifices; they are a symptom of a wider malaise. Adapting and coping with change is a team effort, based on a culture of excellence across people, products and processes.

“True leaders recognise that organisational resilience is a strategic imperative across the whole business.”

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