It may have taken place in 2005 but a piece of research by Accenture still gives a good overview of what’s at the top of CEO’s hit parade:
• Attracting and retaining skilled staff;
• Changing organisational culture and employee attitudes
• Acquiring new customers
• Developing new processes and products to stay ahead of the competition
• Increasing customer loyalty and retention
• Managing risk
• Improving workforce performance
• Increasing shareholder value
• Using IT to reduce costs and create value
• Being flexible and adaptable to rapidly changing market conditions
• Developing employees into capable leaders
Issues like sources of revenue and rising prices will have forced their way into the list over the past few months – but its interesting that five of these issues are what used to be called ‘soft’: they’re about people, not bricks and mortar, IT or finance.
This is one more piece of evidence that business people are getting the message. In highly competitive markets with huge cost constraints and very short periods of product, brand and design advantages (look at how quickly IPODS were assailed by Sony, Creative and other companies almost immediately), one of the only ways of creating differentiation is through people.
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