I was recently working with a group of CEOs and senior functional leaders, and a frequently recurring topic that came up was how stressed they are due to the issues in each sector.

What struck me was how similar were the challenges they faced (given some scope for variation due to being from different sectors) as well as the fact that most of them identified a number of internal issues relating to their role and organizational capabilities rather than issues arising from customers or markets.

A quick review of recent articles throws up similar lists from different sources. For example, INC in a recent article identifies the following as the 5 main challenges for startups. (You can look up the original article here.)

  1. Hiring the right talent
  2. Managing Changing Customer Relationships and Expectations
  3. Staying Competitive and Creating Growth
  4. Combating Cybersecurity Threats
  5. Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

Out of this list, 2 of the 5 are more internal (talent hiring and work-life balance) versus industry/competitor/ customer related. A similar list by Forbes is even more internally focused (see the original article here).

  1. Expected High Performance in a Short Period of Time
  2. Strong Brand Loyalty
  3. Conflict Management
  4. Reputation Management
  5. Hiring The Right Team
  6. Professional Obligations vs. Balanced Life
  7. Lack Of Support And Accountability

And just to ensure its not all magazine articles, I've included a list from Luis Goncalves (see the original article here) which also includes a number of internal challenges.

  1. Building great teams with the right talent
  2. Motivation of teams
  3. Leading with the right scalable strategy
  4. Breaking Traditions in Business Units
  5. Differentiation
  6. Alignment and Prioritisation

What seems to emerge is that a number of CEOs find their organization may not have the ability to successfully attract talent, mobilize/motivate people to achieve the organizational metrics of success, and provide the capabilities to continuously stay relevant to customers.

It would be interesting to segment sectors by the type of issues faced by leaders in that sector, and compare different organizational models that are emerging to address these issues.

Please feel free to write in to compare notes and share research.

About the Author

Atul Vaid has extensive experience in strategic planning, market entry consulting and new initiatives development. He has 20+ years of consulting and corporate experience with global firms, where he has handled a variety of assignments in India, the Middle East, the USA and Japan; as well as cross-border engagements run remotely out of India. He has set up the marketing services hub for a US-based management consulting and technology firm, started an online skills assessment portal, and run a global innovation program for a strategy consulting firm.

Atul is based in Gurgaon, outside of New Delhi in India, and can coach new and experienced consultants, either remotely or in-person.

He can be reached at connect@atulvaid.net

 

Challenges Which Worry CEOs and Leaders
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