What keeps CEOs up at night?

Key issues that are keeping CEOs awake at night include creativity and innovation at 63 per cent, while cyber security came in second at 57 per cent, according to Ashridge Executive Education’s CEO global trends report.

Managing knowledge workers, sustainable business: ethics and responsibility requirements, and sustainable business: consumer demand changes were also high on the ‘sleepless scale’.

Respondents were also asked to state five strategic priorities for their organisations, with the top three being identified as speeding up innovation, creating a service culture and organisational integration.

However, when it comes to skills that businesses need, the C-suite identified communication and team work to be the highest priority, with 58 per cent rating it as very important, while having team members with financial skills and those that can operate with big data and analysis at 51 per cent respectively, as being key to driving future business success.

When looking inwardly to the skills available across their workforce, executives identified that similar skills were available, however to a lesser extent, and measured lower in comparison to the importance they place on these attributes.

Speaking on the report, Rory Hendrikz, Director of Ashridge Middle East, said: “The evolving nature of business, and the proliferation of new technologies are steering organisations like never before. The ability to innovate from within, then quickly deliver results to customers directly or to the wider market, make the difference between success or failure. It is clear that there is a greater need for development of core skills within companies, and harnessing the natural talent of employees, who already understand the nature of the business is key.”

The executives questioned as part of the Ashridge CEO Survey came from a range of industries, including healthcare, finance, education, social care, construction, engineering and retail, from public, private and third sector organisations, covering C-suite positions such as chairman, president, CEO, CFO or managing director roles. Approximately one third of the respondents were female, while almost two thirds were aged between 30 to 49 years of age.

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