Time of Change is Bringing Big Changes
It might seem like an obvious point, but at times of great change like we have seen over the past three years, we begin to see big changes. Who would have thought that Covid would have had an massive impact on the digital transformation of business and how we do business efficiently?
When times are changing, it is common for companies and organisations to take a fresh look at its leadership structure and decide whether or not they have the right team in place for a new world.
This might not be what you want to hear if you are a Managing Director or Chief Executive. So while we are coming out of the pandemic, dealing with economic upheaval and staring down the barrel of World War Three, it might be a good time to review what you as a leader bring to your organisation.
The 2008 financial crisis caused a clear out of Chief Executives across many large companies and organisations, reflecting that many needed leaders with different qualities in tough times. What many needed was less of the razzamatazz and more of the sober, stern, fiscally responsible chief executives who can balance the books and get back in the black.
We are seeing something very similar happening today, with a huge number of chief executives leaving big companies in 2022. 32 FTSE 350 companies have ditched their chief executives in 2022, up 80% from last year.
Many of these exits were delayed due to the pandemic, when there was a big drop in the number of departing chief executives. At the time, many companies and organisations needed the ‘steady hand on the tiller’ or ‘someone who knows the ropes’ to get through Covid-19.
Now that the pandemic is over, it’s time for a clear out for many companies. Chief Executives need to be constantly aware of how their skills are perceived, whether they are seen as the bringers of change or stuck in the past. What qualities does the marketplace require and how can they add value?
The issues now being faced by companies include soaring energy costs, ESG, staff shortages, pandemic debt, supply-chain issues, Brexit, US-China trade tensions and the drive for sustainability.
As a result, many boards are now looking for chief executives with better ‘soft’ skills, such as communication, emotional intelligence and managing diverse and vocal staff and shareholders.
Back in the day, chief executives could spend all of their time focusing on growth and profits. It is a very different world today.
Current and aspiring chief executives today need to demonstrate that they are the right person with the right skills to deal with current and future issues. It is a daunting prospect.
As Churchill himself once said: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”