New geopolitical risks need specialists to help interpret
NINETY-two percent of South African chief executives have said that they are recruiting new specialists into their management teams to better understand geopolitical risks presented to their businesses.
This is according to findings from the South African 2017 Chief Executive Outlook survey released yesterday by professional services firm, KMPG. It looked into the insights of 50 chief executives who run some of the country’s largest and most complex businesses.
Forty-two percent of the chief executives said they were not confident about prospects for the global economy, in 2017, while 68 percent of the respondents said that they saw global disruptions as an opportunity rather than a threat for their organisations.
The study further found that 34 percent South Africa’s chief executives believe that uncertainty of the political landscape has had a greater impact on their business than they have seen for many years, but 84 percent of the executives said that they were ramping up their scenario planning to plot a course through uncertain
42% of chief executives are not confident of the economic future
Makgotso Letsitsi, an executive director for KPMG South Africa, said in the face of new challenges and uncertainties, chief executives were feeling the urgency to “disrupt and grow” their businesses and industries.
“Chief executives under- stand that speed to market and innovations are strategic priorities for growth in uncertain political conditions,” said Letsitsi. The country’s current political climate was at the heart of a wave of downgrades to its sovereign credit rating by all three rating agencies; S&P’s Global Ratings, Fitch and Moody’s.
The survey further found that in a time of growing uncertainty, chief executives were increasingly disrupting or challenging their own role in order to better lead the business.
Sixty-eight percent of the respondents said they had taken practical steps to disrupt their roles in the past years, while only 26 percent believed their emotional intelligence was as important as their technical skills.
They also said that they were more open to new influences and collaborations than at any point in their career.
“Disruption has become a fact of life for chief executives and their businesses as they respond to heightened uncertainty. But importantly, most see disruption as an opportunity to transform their business model, develop new products and services, and reshape their business so it is more successful than ever before,” said Letsitsi.
According to the latest report by the executive recruitment company, Gatenby Sanderson, a modern chief executive should be able to be in a position whereby he or she was unfazed by ambiguity and disruption taking place in the world and across industries.
“Today’s chief executive is either someone who is able to identify and adapt to changing circumstances or – at worst – is faced with picking up the pieces in an organisation that did not move fast enough,” the report said.