Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) undertakes an Annual Global CEO Survey to identify concerns and priorities for the coming year. Recently published, their 2013 survey engaged 1,300 CEO’s in 68 countries and identifies one issue more than any that CEO’s are worried about.
Social unrest, natural disaster, financial and economic instability, regulatory changes and health crises have all played their part in recent years to destabilize businesses, their access to capital and availability of customers and talent. And the senior mindset is increasingly focused on how increase resilience in the organization in the face of future unexpected events. One CEO commented:
When people ask me, ‘What’s going to happen in the next five years?’, I throw up my hands and say ‘I have no idea and neither do you.’
PWC rightly suggests that the only way forward is to build organisations that can survive and thrive amidst disorder: organisations that are agile and adaptable, able to cope with disruption and emerge stronger than before.
In my view, this translates into organisations who can re-configure and fluidly refocus their resources and ideas into entirely new challenges and opportunities. Unified communications and collaboration technology has a part to play for sure. Being able to draw collaborative teams together at a few hours or even a few minutes’ notice is an extremely powerful capability. However people who may feel threatened, anxious or defensive are unlikely to be the powerful contributors we need them most.
For me the challenge that CEO’s face is how to develop a mindset in their organizations and in themselves where disruption is not seen as threat to be defended against, but opportunity to be capitalised on. Uncertainty is the new normal, and the challenge is to use our tools and our talent to seize on it, innovate through it and ultimately profit from it.