According to one small global survey, the answer is that respondents were “struggling with inertia”

In an Jan 2022 global survey of 600 global C-suite executives from the energy and utilities; finance, insurance, legal, manufacturing, media, professional services, retail, and supply chain industries on perspectives pertaining to business growth, risk, strategy, and innovation, respondents had indicated they were struggling to seize new business opportunities amidst an unpredictable business climate.

In areas such as transforming customer and employee experience, and on critical issues such as talent acquisition and technology deployment, a gap was noted between business growth and the ability to drive meaningful long-term change.

The survey was designed to explore how respondents have managed the impact of the pandemic as a catalyst for change, and how corporate leaders had been reimagining their business for future growth.

Some of the findings include:
    • 71% of business leaders indicated they felt better equipped to make decisions quickly (71%); 72% cited being able to think strategically about long-term objectives; 75% indicated they had adopted new technologies; 71% had developed more empathetic and trusting relationships with customers, and 69% with employees
    • 66% indicated that the pandemic had exposed weaknesses in strategy; 60% indicated they had struggled to act decisively in response to new market opportunities.
    • 78% of respondents highlighted the increasing role played by leadership teams over the past 12 months in prioritizing cybersecurity services; and for data analytics software and tools (75%), cloud enablement (74%)
    • 74% cited improving customer experience as the top strategic priority; 38% indicated they had accelerated the use of data analytics to improve customer experience, with fewer harnessing automation to improve customer service
    • 33% of respondents cited lack of digital skills as the most common gap facing businesses

Said Sampath Sowmyanarayan, Chief Executive Officer, Verizon Business Group, which commissioned the survey: “The big lesson we’ve learned over the last few years is that there’s not a single right way to lead, build a culture or execute a strategy. This is why we also see many organizations attempting to adopt a ‘bias to yes’ as a guiding principle. They are increasingly giving employees the freedom to challenge the status quo and openly ask questions such as why a deployment may take so long, or why can’t their business deliver on their customer needs.”

The survey report recommends business leaders to navigate a clear path through a deeply uncertain business environment; understand the importance of building resilience and delivering change through partnerships; unite the workforce with a clear purpose; drive innovation through experimentation and fear-free risk-taking; and unlock the potential of the whole workforce through an inclusive culture.