IBM: ANZ CEOs say they can’t handle business complexity

IBM: ANZ CEOs say they can’t handle business complexity

Only 39 percent expect to deal with changing environment.

According to a new IBM Global CEO survey, less than half of global CEOs believe their enterprises are prepared to handle an increasingly complex business environment. The survey interviewed 1500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, including 22 respondents from New Zealand and 51 from Australia.

The study revealed different strategic concerns and priorities among CEOs in Australia and New Zealand compared to CEOs in Asia, Europe or North America, the first time regional variations have appeared in the biennial survey.

A number of ANZ CEOs said in the survey that they feel ill-equipped to cope with this different world. Eighty four percent of ANZ CEOs interviewed said they expect the level of complexity to grow significantly over the next five years, but only 39 percent believe they know how to deal with it successfully.

IBM ANZ global business services innovation and growth consulting partner Matt English says the complexity gap is larger in ANZ than any other part of the world.

“However ANZ CEOs place integrity before creativity as the key leadership competency. Nevertheless, they are adept at dealing with ambiguity. Fifty-three percent of CEOs use iterative strategic planning processes as distinct from formal annual strategy reviews, although only 25 percent favour quick decisions, compared with a global average of 33 percent.”

He adds that ANZ CEOs are also willing to embrace new management and communication techniques.

“Seventy one percent tend to persuade and influence rather than to command and control, while 43 percent prefer managed viral communication to top-down communication.”

The ANZ CEOs said that the complexity is exacerbated by a number of factors. In the survey, 25 percent said they will have to double revenue from new sources in the next five years; and 81 percent foresee the shift of economic power to rapidly developing markets.

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