Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘ceo study’ Category

Students To IBM: Think Local, Act Global

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On the topic of globalization…last week, IBM released results of a first-of-a-kind survey that I’ve been wanting to blog about and share (but am just now getting the bandwidth to get around to).

The survey was part of the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study, but this particular component I want to tell you about was getting into the heads of university students around the globe. 

Think about some of the key current topics: BP oil spill, increased focus and investment in green energy, challenges of a global workforce, physical infrastructure challenges in a time of increased budget deficits, and so on.

Then think about the university students’ reactions and results from the study: They are extremely concerned with issues around globalization and sustainability.

However, only four out of 10 believe that their education had prepared them to address these issues.

Ouch.

Creativity Is Key

It also revealed that both students and CEOs believe that creativity is the most important emerging competency of future leaders.  It also revealed clear confidence about the ability of information technologies to address looming issues in business or society.

I’m certainly seeing that here while in Bangalore, the IT hub of India. 

The study also revealed a decidedly optimistic new ethos, one based on an integrated view of globalization, sustainability, and belief in technology as a path towards solutions for both emerging and existing problems.

Almost 50 percent of students indicated that organizations should optimize their operations by globalizing, rather than localizing, to meet their strategic objectives.

Generation Gap, Data Driven

However, they also described a gap in this generation’s training to cope with issues that will arise in an increasingly interconnected and complex world – which is where their strong belief in IT as a gap bridger came into play.

Students surveyed indicated that they will lean more heavily on data analysis — over gut instinct or existing "best practices" — to reach their strategic and operational goals as business leaders in their own right.

And as fact-based decisions begin to prevail, they may need to pioneer an entirely new management style — one that continually enriches personal experience and education with new sources of insight based on a new ability deal with the explosion of real-time information. 

The study also revealed broad-based confidence that increased access to information, analysis, and the resulting insight can reduce uncertainty about the future.

Clearly, the students’ experience regarding globalization is different. 

Growing up more connected globally, students see the shocks and threats, but are more prone to view globalization as an opportunity to solve increasingly global problems.

They are strongly committed to a global view of shared responsibility for both environmental issues and societal prosperity.

Students, for the most part, shared their views, and even agreed on very specific courses of action: embodying creative leadership, reinventing customer relationships and building more dexterous operating models.

Nevertheless, for all the areas of agreement between students and CEOs, twice as many students selected globalization and environmental issues as one of the top three factors to impact organizations and expected major consequences to business and society from a scarcity of resources.

Bold positions like these came about because students clearly saw that globalization provides an opportunity for organizations to create new value.

Compared to all other regions, the views of students and CEOs on sustainability diverged most sharply in North America.

Students there were almost three times as likely as CEOs to expect scarcity of natural resources to have a significant impact. They were more than twice as likely to select environmental issues as a top external force.

And 60 percent more students than CEOs in this region anticipated that customer expectations for social responsibility will increase significantly. 

The Digital Deluge

Given that today’s students grew up in a digital age, intuitively understanding that economies, societies, governments and organizations are made up of interconnecting networks, it may not be surprising that seven in 10 students experienced the new economic environment as significantly more complex today, compared to six in 10 CEOs. 

But they saw far less volatility and uncertainty, in part because they were confident that access to more information could be put to better use, analyzed for patterns and predictive insights to solve the hardest problems in business or society.

Students who saw significantly more complexity, or interconnectedness in the environment, were 50 percent more likely to expect significant impact from the information explosion and 22 percent more likely to believe that a focus on analyzing information for insight would be key to organizations’ success in the future.

Views about the impact of the information explosion were fairly uniform across regions, except in China where students were 67 percent more likely to see a large impact than CEOs in China. Students in China were also far more likely to approach decision-making analytically, relying on facts more than instinct, or even experience.

Global Thinking, Local Views

Students’ attitudes toward globalization were reflected in their expectations of leadership as well.

Like CEOs, students selected creativity as the top emerging leadership quality for the successful enterprise of the future. But among the nine leadership traits CEOs and students were asked to select, students placed a higher emphasis on only two qualities -– global thinking and a focus on sustainability.

In China, 76 percent of students value global thinking as a top leadership quality, more than students anywhere else. Yet, only 38 percent of students in China believe their education has prepared them for global citizenship, which is lower than students in any other region.

Only 17 percent of students in Japan, less than any other region, believe their education has prepared them well to benefit from the growth of emerging markets.

Understanding these and other sharp differences emerging by geography is increasingly important as economies and societies become more closely linked.

Students will confront these differences as they increasingly become the future leaders of business and organizations.

It’s a set of results both heartening and yet eye-opening. 

If you’d like to read the full results and learn more, visit the IBM Future Leaders site.

Written by turbotodd

June 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Constant Change Demands Creativity

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While I was out floating in the Caribbean and swimming with the sharks, I missed a key announcement that I always strive to cover in the Turbo blog: The release of the results from IBM’s annual CEO Study.

So, I’m not going to be remiss and miss the one this year!  Better late than never!

If you don’t have much background on the IBM CEO Study, here’s the net: It’s a survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide.

This year, the findings indicated chief executives believe that — more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.

In a week that finds a continued major oil spill in the U.S. gulf region, as tensions heat up between North and South Korea, as world markets witness continued market volatility due to the European sovereign debt crisis and now the Korean tensions…yeah, complex world, okay.

The IBM CEO Study is conducted through in-person interviews with senior leaders and consultants from IBM’s Global Business Services division.

This year, less than half of global CEOs believed their enterprises are adequately prepared to handle a highly volatile, increasingly complex business environment.

CEOs are confronted with massive shifts – new government regulations, changes in global economic power centers, accelerated industry transformation, growing volumes of data, rapidly evolving customer preferences – that, according to the study, can be overcome by instilling “creativity” throughout an organization.

Witness the graphic below to see more detail on the CEO perspective from this year’s study:

IBM CEO Study Graphic

Industry Focused, Innovation Centric

More than 60 percent of CEOs said that industry transformation is the top factor contributing to uncertainty, indicating a need to discover more innovative ways of managing an organization’s structure, finances, people and strategy.

The study also uncovers starkly divergent strategic concerns and priorities among CEOs in Asia, Japan, Europe or North America – the first time such clear regional variations have appeared in this biennial survey.

“Coming out of the worst economic downturn in our professional lifetimes — and facing a new normal that is distinctly different — it is remarkable that CEOs identify creativity as the number one leadership competency of the successful enterprise of the future,” said Frank Kern, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services

“But step back and think about it, and this is entirely consistent with the other top finding in our Study — that the biggest challenge facing enterprises from here on will be the accelerating complexity and the velocity of a world that is operating as a massively interconnected system.”

Complexity of the Global Operating Environment: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

The CEOs interviewed told IBM that today’s business environment is volatile, uncertain and increasingly complex.

Eight in ten CEOs expect their environment to grow significantly more complex but only 49 percent believe their organizations are equipped to deal with it successfully – the largest leadership challenge identified in eight years of research.

The CEOs said that the complexity of an interconnected world is aggravated by a number of factors.

For example, CEOs expect revenue from new sources to double over the next five years, and 76 percent of CEOs foresee the shift of economic power to rapidly developing markets.

Over the last four studies, the expected impact of technology on organizations has risen from 6th to 2nd place in importance, revealing that CEOs understand that technology and the interconnection of the world’s infrastructures is contributing to the complexity they face, and also reveals that they need more technology-based answers to succeed in a world that is massively interconnected.

The study highlights the attributes of top-performing organizations based on revenue and profit performance during the past five years, including the economic downturn.

  • Top performing organizations are 54 percent more likely than others to make rapid decisions. CEOs indicated they are learning to respond swiftly with new ideas to address the deep changes affecting their organizations.
  • 95 percent of top performing organizations identified getting closer to customers as their most important strategic initiative over the next five years – using Web, interactive, and social media channels to rethink how they engage with customers and citizens. They view the historic explosion of information and global information flows as opportunities, rather than threats.
  • Organizations that have built superior operating dexterity expect to capture 20 percent more of their future revenue from new sources than their more traditional peers.

China: Resilient and Rising

Vast complexity is further intensified by regional differences.  The study noted that perspectives varied with geography – differences of opinion about what changes to make, what new skills will be needed and how to succeed in the new economic environment. These regional variations also compound the complexities with which CEOs must contend.

China proved much more resilient than the developed nations during the economic downturn. So, CEOs in China are, understandably, less concerned about volatility than CEOs in other regions.

In fact, they are becoming increasingly confident of their place on the world stage.

But if China is to fulfill its global aspirations, it will need a new generation of leaders with creativity, vision and international management experience.

Many of the country’s CEOs recognize this; 61 percent believe “global thinking” is a top leadership quality. Most companies will also need new industry models and skills. They cannot simply replicate the models they have used in their domestic market, which has a completely different cost structure.

CEOs in China are also devoting far more energy to building new skills and capabilities than their peers in the West.

In North America, which faced a financial crisis that led to governments becoming major stakeholders in private enterprise, CEOs are more wary of “big government” than CEOs elsewhere. A full 87 percent anticipate greater government intervention and regulation over the next five years, compounding their sense of uncertainty.

In Japan, 74 percent of CEOs expect the shift of economic power from mature to rapidly developing markets to have a major impact on their organizations.

By contrast, the European Union is less concerned about this shift, with only 43 percent of CEOs expecting to be impacted.

Understanding these and other sharp differences emerging by region is increasingly important as economies and societies become more closely linked. Organizations confront these differences as they increasingly operate across boundaries and across different regions.

You can learn more and download the full IBM 2010 Global CEO Study here.

Written by turbotodd

May 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm

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