How leaders must adapt to survive

New IBM research contains some strong views on the ever-changing roles of CEOs, CFOs and senior HR execs...

Last Updated: 09 Jul 2013

In its latest Global Studies, IBM tries to explain how these three key players need to raise their game in this fast-moving corporate landscape – and explains where some of these high-fliers are currently going wrong. And all this weighty research, which is based on thousands of interviews with CEOs, CFOs and HR executives from around the globe (with a little help from Wharton Business School and the Economist Intelligence Unit), even has plenty of colourful charts and pretty pictures to wash it all down. What more could you want?

In ‘The Enterprise of the Future’, CEOs and leaders of institutions across the public and private sectors shares their experiences. The paper discusses the changes companies are facing and the difficulties of keeping one step ahead of the competition and its customers. But it also looks at how CEOs are willing to accommodate today’s socially minded customers – apparently these days they seem to view such demands less as a problem, and more as an opportunity to do good (or at least, that’s their story and they’re sticking to it). Broken down into five chapters, it also features case studies from high-growth businesses like Hong Kong-based Li & Fung, US pharmaceutical maker Eli Lilly, and UK retailer Marks & Spencer (OK, so maybe that last example’s a little out-of-date now).

Click here to download ‘The IBM Global CEO Study 2008: The Enterprise of the Future'.

Next up we have ‘Balancing Risk and Performance’, in which IBM questions whether CFOs are ready for a riskier world; according to its study, two out of three enterprises with revenues over US$5bn have encountered ‘material risk’ events in the last three years, and almost half (42 percent) were not well prepared for it. Apparently the key is for CFOs to play a bigger role in risk management - and to do a better job of integrating their various operations. The current trend to devolve decisions to separate geographies is a mistake, IBM argues – CFOs with an IFO (Integrated Finance Organization, if you’re not getting acronym-fatigue) are far better at getting their jobs done.

Click here to download ‘The IBM Global CFO Study 2008: Balancing Risk and Performance’.

And last, but by no means least, we have the third study, entitled ‘Unlocking the DNA of the Adaptable Workforce’. This looks at the HR challenges of trying to grow a big company and recruit top talent more effectively. The results provide guidance not only to the HR function but the entire organisation, as well as offering a step-by-step guide to help enhance workforce performance in today’s business. But it’s not just HR-types who should check this out. One of the study’s key findings is that optimising the performance of a workforce is no longer just HR’s responsibility – it also includes line management, executives and other leaders from the likes of IT, marketing and finance. In other words, the rest of you aren’t getting away with it that easily…

Click here to download ‘The IBM Global HR Study 2008: Unlocking the DNA of the Adaptable Workforce’.

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