Egon Zehnder released a new CEO leadership survey involving nearly 1,000 CEOs worldwide. This year's survey had more twice the amount of respondents than the previous round in 2018, reflecting the enthusiasm among CEOs to reflect more deeply on what is required of them.
Going far beyond box-ticking, these CEOs provided more than 5,000 individual, qualitative reflections. Participating CEOs represent every major industry and region, both larger and smaller firms, and every type of company ownership. They include nearly 100 female CEOs, and they range from highly tenured to freshly appointed CEOs. Together their companies earned nearly $4 trillion in revenues in 2020.
When we weave together the voices of these CEOs with the latest thinking from Egon Zehnder’s CEO advisory work, four findings stand out:
1. Complexity and rapid change are reshaping business—and the CEO’s role. 90 percent of CEOs surveyed agreed that the CEO has moved into the center of louder, more diverse and diverging voices in recent years.
2. It starts with you—CEOs recognize they must change themselves to change the world. Nearly 80 percent of CEOs strongly agree that they need to transform themselves as well as their organization. But change is hard: CEOs admit that they struggle to connect with their people and lift the collective ambition.
3. CEOs sense their goal is prosperity for the many—but most are far from achieving it. Although our survey respondents agree social and environmental contributions are at the forefront of progress, it’s still not a main priority: Traditional financial metrics remain the dominant decision-driver for most CEOs.
4. CEOs are expanding their capacity to be adaptive, relational, and self-aware. CEOs are working to develop a new set of leadership skills, specifically in self-reflection, listening to diverse points of view, and seeking frequent, honest feedback from team members, Chairs, mentors, consultants, and other CEOs.
Read more about the findings of this survey here