10 Challenges facing CEOs in 2014

10 Challenges facing CEOs in 2014

There is never a dull moment as a Chief Executive Officer. New challenges and trends impact the daily developments of their corporate roles. While every business entity has unique conditions and circumstances, most CEOs will likely share several common challenges this year.

10 Challenges CEOs Are Facing

Below is a list of ten of the most pressing challenges Chief Executive Officers must confront in the execution of their duties. By managing these objectives, CEOs will be well on their way of having a productive and successful 2014.

Identifying where growth will come from

It is not a shock to see this make the list. However, businesses are only as successful as their bottom-lines indicate. The last few years have been predominantly based on streamlining processes and finding productivity improvements to align with the global economic shock. After overcoming those difficulties, investors are now becoming more vocal about asking the question of where growth is going to come from. This will not be an easy task. It will likely take a combination of mergers and acquisitions, innovation, and invention. Those corporations that can maintain their ‘lean and mean’ operating structures while also pushing ahead to create and innovate will set themselves apart from their competition. The new “powers to-be” in the business world will be created within the next several years, and they will be the groups that most succeed here.

Global human capital development

The pursuit of global corporate growth will also demand a commitment to developing a truly global workforce.  Many companies have neglected this aspect in recent years due to the priority of streamlining business models; now is the time to place a greater emphasis on these human resources endeavors. There are plenty of expatriate programs; however, there are not so many for repatriation. Typically, another company ends up profiting from one’s investment in global talent, as they hire the best people away once you have groomed them. This is one program that cannot begin at the grassroots level of an organisation; creating a substantial plan for retaining global talent and expanding the growth opportunities for future leadership role is a directive that must come from the principals within the organisation.

Customer relationships

Building the bridge between customers and producers is considered an integral aspect of aspect. Customer relations however are not an internationally shared custom. The idea of promoting strong customer relationships is not a traditional aspect of many cultures, such as in China. It is vital that CEOs continue to pursue the strengthening of these international bonds, and build stronger brand loyalty in regions not seen previously.

Stakeholder overload

Chief executive officers function in many ways like the presidents of national governments; their power is not omnipotent. “When you talk to global CEOs and ask them what has been the biggest surprise in their executive role, one of the first responses is “stakeholder overload.” Stakeholder factions can become very powerful. In recent times, governments, non-government organizations, regulation agencies, and special interest groups have taken to the criticising business policies, and people are listening. Companies can no longer send a mere public relations representative to address these groups; stakeholders demand to interact with the head honchos, the CEOs. Just as the masses are making governments crumble, expect the same intensity to be aimed toward global CEOs and their brands.

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Innovation is the catalyst to growth. Businesses must constantly revolutionize the economic structure from within they work in. This enables them to construct better or more effective processes and products, such as the shift from the archetypal shift from the horse-and-buggy to the automobile. While every innovation is not as groundbreaking in scope as the before mentioned, companies must continue to devote resources towards research and development, so that every economic advantage can be gained.

Operational efficiency

Streamlining the supply chain and logistical aspects of business can be pivotal to the bottom line. Millions of dollars can be lost each year due to seemingly insignificant delays and inefficiencies to the operations system. Chief executive officers must push project managers and bureau directors to eradicate all feasible obstructions within the chain, and to pursue new practices that can either hasten productivity or decrease operational costs.

Corporate Branding

 Deciding when to best utilise corporate identity to a product is trickier than it firsts appears. Corporate branding can result in significant profitability since one advertising campaign can be used for several varying products. It can enable new products to gain instant acceptance because potential buyers are already familiar with the brand name and feel they are likely to gain satisfaction for new product as they have in the past with others under the brand. However, this strategy may negate from the creation of distinct brand images or identities for different products. It can make it difficult for brands to broaden the scope and appeal of their products to new demographics. Making the executive decisions to determine when and how to perform such branding will drive much of the success of many products and their market appeal.

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Potential economic depression in Europe

While many markets are healing, many European states are not beyond the point of peril economically. Identifying how to manage European market panics and designing marketing strategies can play a significant role in capitalising on one of the world’s wealthiest and most developed regions.

Big Data analytics

How to capitalise on this ascending business trend will play heavily on many executives. While the information collected from such platforms can be influential in accurately determining how to strategise business aims and how to direct resources, it can come at high costs. Financially, it can be considered too costly to update technologies and add new analysts, compared to more traditional models such as representative sampling. Further, there are still concerns about the operating paradigms that many big data analytics stem from; it is still uncertain that the results that come from such systems are fundamentally sound.

Currency volatility

The world does not function on a single currency to date. Given the global nature of the most prominent corporations, it is essential that executives stay honed in on how to best manage their business’s portfolios, to avoid unnecessary risk.

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About the author

Jamie McDermott

Involved in Business Development and Technologies at Career Intelligence. Based in the Fleet Street, London office since the start of 2014.

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