10 Key Challenges for CEOs

by Corporate Board Member, First Quarter of 2011.

As the new year unfolds, business thought leaders are prognosticating about what lies ahead and the best way to manage future challenges. Stephen Miles, vice chairman and head of Heidrick & Struggles’ Leadership Advisory Services, offers directors and officers 10 key challenges for chief executives in 2011.
The major challenges, he says, stem from the growing global dynamic, the aftermath of the financial crisis, emerging technology, and the changing needs and perceptions of the employee base as well as shareholders.

1. Moving from “business case” to “social business case.” As companies weigh decisions such as entering a new market or embarking on a multi-jurisdictional acquisition, the business case must now be viewed through a new lens: How will this business decision impact the region they are going into? It is no longer enough for companies to meet the ‘legal requirements’; they must make the case to the local stakeholders that this move will benefit the target community.

2. Stepping into the role of “ambassador.” On a related note, the CEO must personally act as diplomat and actively engage with politicians and regulators around the world.

3. Repairing the corporate image. In this environment, CEOs in all industries must work assiduously to repair their reputations among the media, regulators, investors, and the public at large. One way of doing this is through earnest corporate social responsibility, which helps to diffuse the negative press and also jibes with the priorities of today’s younger employees—another important constituency that companies must consider.

4. Making the board an ally. Developments such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the global financial crisis have further distilled corporate boards into the role of scrutinizing and interrogating management. The CEO must build a strong relationship with these key stakeholders to work together on desired initiatives and operate with transparency. (continue reading… )

 

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