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CEOs losing confidence

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They may have reached the top of the corporate ladder through their own determination (and maybe some family connections), but most CEOs are skeptical that their own companies have the drive and persistence it takes to succeed.

A new survey commissioned by the British Standards Institution and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that less than a third of company chiefs believe their firms have “fully embedded resilience practices,” a set of business practices that BSI describes as ensuring that a company’s systems, products and workers are constantly adapting to provide top-notch service to customers.

In BSI’s words, the following are the key components of corporate resilience:

  • Proactive approach – a willingness to adapt before being forced to

  • Dynamic leadership – support from the top of organization to embed process, CEO down

  • Responsiveness to change – a willingness to listen to market needs

  • Strong corporate culture – holistic inclusion and recognition of everyone’s responsibility and contribution to the business

  • Keeping focused – possessing a clear vision, purpose and identity

  • Long-term view – avoiding responding solely to short-term financial goals

It’s not that the surveyed businesses didn’t buy into BSI’s formula for success. Eighty-eight percent said that resilience is a priority for their firms, while 80 percent said it was indispensable for long-term growth. And 61 percent said it was a significant competitive advantage.

Read: CEOs relying more than ever on HR

Thirty-seven percent of CEOs at North American companies expressed confidence about their firm’s resilience, compared to only 19 percent of their counterparts in Europe and 34 percent of those in Asia. 

Among companies with more than $500 million of annual revenue, a third of corporate heads express confidence, compared to 26 percent of CEOs of smaller firms.

“The apparent gap between the intention and action in companies’ approach towards resilience suggests that businesses are facing a host of challenges in embedding resilience in a changing and volatile marketplace,” said Victoria Tuomisto, who edited the report from the Economist Intelligence Unit. These, in turn, will be different for every company. But a resilient organization by definition is one that is constantly shifting and adapting; there is no ‘finish line’ when it comes to implementing a culture of resilience.”