Opening day at C2-MTL featured the unveiling of the IBM 2012 CEO Study. This biennial initiative surveys corporate leaders around the world to gauge the latest business management trends. This year, more than 1,700 chief executive officers took part in interviews. Marc Chapman, Managing Partner with IBM Global Business Services, presented the results of the study to an enthusiastic audience at the New City Gas building in Montreal.
The findings centre around three key strategic orientations that the individuals surveyed say will be critical to the growth of their companies in the coming years.
- Empowering employees through values. The CEOs believe that as a first step, a portion of control must be entrusted to employees by encouraging them to adopt the company’s values. This thinking was prompted by the increasing need to decentralize. The phenomenon, fuelled by social media, encourages employees to embody and share their employer’s mission and vision.
- Engaging customers as individuals. The IBM 2012 CEO Study also recommends that to foster a stronger bond with consumers, brands would be well advised to view them as individuals rather than as an indistinct mass. Moreover, the study reveals that the CEOs interviewed predict a 256% increase in the use of social media as a means to interact with consumers and say it will come at the expense of the more “traditional” communication channels.
- Amplifying innovation with partnerships. The study suggests that innovation must be approached in a more open manner and should target multiple partnerships that reach beyond the organization itself, including competitors. According to Chapman and his team, this “co-opetition” is particularly important during the phases leading up to exploration, research and development. Only 4% of the CEOs believe their organizations are capable of running operations by using internal resources alone. This recommendation is no doubt more difficult for corporate leaders to introduce. The highly competitive business market has spent years protecting patents, copyrights, and other industrial secrets. However, the information gathered by IBM indicates that companies actually have everything to gain from becoming more open and seeking collaborations previously viewed as unusual.
The three orientations presented in the IBM 2012 CEO Study share one common denominator: placing people at the centre of a company’s potential success. The trend is now shifting towards a philosophy where employees live-out the company’s values; individuals adopt brands and products, which in turn, ideally are personalized. Human relations are forged through collaboration and co-creation.
—Gabrielle Madé, CMF Watch Squad