a note from Luminas Client Delivery Leader, Brandi Morales-Espinal

Forbes’ global study of 500 C-Suite leaders identified four key strategies for driving growth over the next 24 months, including enhancing the customer experience.

The article indicates when members of the C-Suite make decisions, they rely 57% on their own opinion and inputs and only 22% on their customer’s feedback.

With organizations focusing their decision making primarily on their internal perspective to prioritize their long-term interest, what innovative methods can be adopted to ensure that vitally important customer input is incorporated into the organization’s decision-making process?

An effective approach will incorporate the top priorities of individual customers, and a segment of customers, to assess how they align with your organization’s strategic growth priorities. This approach may allow for the strategic shift towards “stakeholder capitalism,” as highlighted in the article.

Luminas helps organizations quantify and prioritize their strategic growth priorities based on validated customer insights. We help our clients align growth strategies with their customers – enabling both parties to win together.

How are you enhancing the customer experience (customer-driven) or your organization’s internal experience with the customer (internally-driven)?

How does your C-suite compare to those who responded to the survey?

Forbes’ 2021 CxO Growth Survey Reveals C-Suite Executives Are Optimistic About A Recovery, Prioritizing Digital Transformation, Customer Experience, Talent & Brand Purpose

The Forbes 2021 CxO Growth Survey, a comprehensive look at how C-suite executives are charting a course for long-term, sustainable growth, reveals that C-suite executives are exceedingly optimistic their organizations will emerge from the pandemic stronger.

Revealed at Forbes’ CMO Next Summit today, the global study of 500 CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, CFOs and CHROs at companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenues also finds that executives are uniformly aligned around four key strategies for driving growth this year and next: accelerating digital transformation, enhancing the customer experience, investing in talent and sharpening their brand purpose.

While 71 percent of executives interviewed say it will take until 2022 for the U.S. economy to return to its pre-pandemic state, the overwhelming majority – 90% – are forecasting revenue and earnings increases over the next two years. Nearly 80 percent of executives said the pandemic revealed their organizational strengths and the vast majority are using the pandemic to “reset” their businesses. By a wide margin, they are prioritizing long-term growth over efficiency/cost-cutting measures (57%-43%).

The survey also sheds insight into how decisions are being made in the C-suite, with executives prioritizing the opinions of customers, other C-suite executives and employees – well ahead of investors, shareholders and boards of directors. This approach reflects the broader shift away from “shareholder capitalism” to “stakeholder capitalism.”

“For more than a century we’ve had our finger on the pulse of the world’s most-influential business leaders, and our CxO Growth Survey finds the C-suite more determined and committed than ever to working together and taking the long-view as they build back with resilience,” said Jessica Sibley, Chief Revenue Officer of Forbes. “They are driven by the desire to do right by their stakeholders and each other and are united in their belief that investing in people, technology and customer experience are the foundations for growth.”

Sibley added: “Culturally within their organizations, CxOs are prioritizing teamwork, quick decision-making, rapid employee communication and ensuring their brands deliver positive social impact.”

The CxO research arrives as Jenny Rooney, director of Forbes’ C-suite editorial communities, last week announced the launch of a broader CxO platform, a comprehensive editorial initiative spotlighting C-suite collaboration.

Over the next two years, the research found, more than 75% of CxOs plan to “double-down” on technology, investing in tools that enhance collaboration, strengthen cybersecurity strategies, accelerate cloud and data analytics. From a people perspective, CxOs are prioritizing improving employee-training programs, updating remote work policies and communicating more regularly with employees. Only 3% are considering reducing headcount.

Nearly two-thirds of CxOs say having a clearly defined purpose and demonstrating a positive societal impact are critically important, and 61% of CxOs say brand purpose is often the subject of C-suite meetings. Importantly, 93 percent of CxOs said their organization has prioritized diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, but only 57 percent have established a clear recruitment strategy to attract more diverse talent.

Among the specific functions of the C-suite:

·        More than half (54%) of the CEOs surveyed say, when making decisions, they care most about the opinions and input of other C-suite executives, followed by customers (22%). Eighty-five percent said their decisions increasingly prioritize long-term interest over the short-term demands of shareholders/investors.

·        CMOs, with support and backing from their colleagues in the C-suite, are a driving force in the transformation to a data-driven organization. Marketers say digital transformation is the #1 factor that will drive future growth for their organization, followed closely behind by improving customer experience. The CMOs surveyed said customers care most about superior service, product innovation and product availability.

·        More than 70% of CIOs increased investments on technologies to improve the customer experience and drive digital transformation. The top concerns of CIOs are cybersecurity, followed by data management and governance. They are focused on attracting tech- and data-savvy talent but only 57% said their organization has an active strategy to attract and retain data-literate talent.

·        Ninety-three percent of CFOs are at least somewhat confident about their organization’s post-pandemic recovery over the next two years and are increasing spending in key areas, including customer experience, technology and R&D/product development.

·        More than 90% of CHROs have increased spending on employee wellness and benefits and are now working to make big changes to company policies to promote wellness and support retention – allowing for more work location flexibility, modifying health coverage and sick-leave policies or adding counseling or mental-health resources.

Forbes’ New CxO Editorial Platform

The CxO editorial platform showcases the unprecedented connection and cooperation among leaders as they work together to navigate economic and societal challenges and pivot their organizations for growth.

It draws upon the deep editorial coverage of Forbes’ industry-leading CEOCMOCIO and CFO Networks and features: thoughtfully reported analysis; the Forbes CxO Newsletter; proprietary research from the CxO Growth Survey, and a new CxO-focused video series called “Forbes CxO Nexus,” developed in association with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Global CMO Growth Council.

“Radical digital transformation is happening at breakneck speed,” Rooney said, “and business growth depends upon each member of the C-suite aligning around common goals, priorities and incentives to drive tangible outcomes for their organizations. Our new CxO platform builds upon the deep coverage we deliver through our CEO, CMO, CIO and CFO networks and is aimed at spotlighting how the C-Suite is working together to build a more resilient future.”

Originally published February 2021 at Forbes.com

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