IBM Global CEO Study 2006: Innovate + Collaborate + Orchestrate = Prosper
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The changes, they are a comin'.
If you haven't yet seen any of the coverage of our Business Consulting Services group's "Global CEO Study 2006," the results were announced earlier this week, and they provide some very revealing views into the current outlook from CEOs and other business leaders from around the globe.
Based on interviews with 765 CEOs, business executives, and public sector (government) leaders - from organizations and business of all sizes and industries from throughout the world - the 2006 study was notably different from that in 2004, when growth was the top priority, albeit with a focus on strengthening financial performance.
This time around, while growth is still on the agenda (is it never in business?), business leaders seem to be coming to the conclusion that organic growth is often incremental and often doesn't distinguish one org from another.
So what do they believe will be the best path to more immodest growth?
I Innovate, Therefore I Am
In a word, innovation. And while they conceded that the responsibility for innovation begins at the top, they overwhelmingly suggested that the drive to innovate is a responsibility shared by the entire organization from partners, employees, even customers.
That said, they recognized that they, as leaders, must foster a culture of creativity that rewards both collaboration and individual contributors. As one respondent indicated, "I have to show the team where the green is, supply them with good clubs, and then give them the freedom to move down the fairway in whatever way they decide is best."
(Blogger's Note: I'm liking the Callaway X-18s I got myself for Christmas, but it takes some getting used to the additional drop dead weight .I keep pulling the ball left of where I used to hit with my Henry Griffiths! So just be sure that if you're going to continue with the golf analogies that you fit your employees with the best clubs for their swing.)
Play Nice in the Sandbox
While there's no magical elixir here, they also indicated that they must increasingly hone in on business model innovation at the same time that they focus on innovation on products, services, markets, and operations (Read: Do things smarter, not harder).
Finally, they indicated that playing nicely in the sandbox with the other kids is not only nice, it's necessary. Collaborative innovation in and beyond the company walls leads directly to top sources of innovation and new ideas, and most readily agreed that they aren't collaborating nearly enough. Some 76% of CEOs indicated that customer collaborations and partners were two of the top providers of innovative ideas.
So, reinvent your business processes, listen to your employees and customers, and create an environment that encourages and bolsters innovation.
Machiavelli should have had it so easy!