Execution is taking precedence over profit and top-line growth as a focus for CEOs around the world, according to a survey of 769 global CEOs from 40 countries from The Conference Board report, CEO Challenge 2007: Top 10 Challenges.

 

When asked to rate their greatest concerns from among 121 different challenges, chief executives participating in this year’s survey chose excellence of execution as their top challenge and keeping consistent execution of strategy by top management as their third greatest concern. Sustained and steady top-line growth, which led the pack last year, now ranks second, with profit growth fourth, and finding qualified managerial talent fifth.

Judging by this year’s U.S. Top 10, finding qualified managerial talent (sixth place) and top management succession (seventh place) have become the dominant people issues for U.S. CEOs, replacing last year’s top HR concern, health care costs. The two concerns are closely intertwined because competition for talented managers will become even fiercer as many baby boomers depart the “top of the house” to move into “third-stage careers” and retirement.

Twenty one percent of the “less successful” U.S. companies rate speed, flexibility and adaptability to change among their greatest concerns, as opposed to 10.4 percent of their “more successful” U.S. peers. Similarly, 47.4 percent of the “less successful” rank consistent execution of strategy by top management among their greatest concerns, compared to 32.8 percent of their more successful U.S. competitors.

           

For more information, go to www.tcb.org.

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