Do Canadian CEOs have a false sense of security? - Canadian Government Executive
Best PracticeLeadershipManagementRiskTechnology
June 28, 2016

Do Canadian CEOs have a false sense of security?

Ninety-six per cent of Canadian CEOs feel confident about their company's growth in the next three years, yet a study shows that their strategies aren't in line with their priorities.

There’s a fine line between confidence and naivety – a line that Canadian CEOs might be overstepping.

The 2016 Canadian CEO Outlook from KPMG has polled Canadian CEOs, revealing a startling disconnect between a company’s outlook and its reality.

Customer loyalty continues to be an important issue for CEOs, with 98 per cent acknowledging it as their most pressing concern. Respondents also highlighted the challenge of millennials and their differing needs, as well as staying on top of changing services and products.

Even with these challenges, 96 per cent are confident in the growth of their company over the next three years, with over half predicting a top-line growth of 2-5 per cent. Bill Thomas, CEO and Senior Partner of KPMG Canada and Chair of KPMG’s Americas Region, believes this confidence isn’t necessarily warranted.

“Despite all the disruption currently rocking our national economy – from the oil and gas industry to our ever-fluctuating dollar – corporate leaders in Canada are largely confident about their short-term prospects and even more optimistic for the growth of their own companies, and the Canadian and global economy over the next three years,” said Thomas. “Yet, there appears to be a strong disconnect between the concerns CEOs identified, or in some cases didn’t identify, and the areas they’ve selected for strategic focus.”

Only 13 per cent of CEOs feel fully prepared for cyberattacks – and little is being done to combat this unpreparedness, with only eight per cent indicating cybersecurity is a strategic priority.

And though 70 per cent of Canadian CEOs acknowledge new customers as the main source of their growth over the next three years, only a little more than half use data and analytics (D&A) to understand their current customers.

To make matters worse, D&A appears to be in decline, with only 21 per cent planning to invest in D&A for the future.

The decline could be attributed to an inability to use D&A effectively. Rather than using it to drive innovation and understand customers and markets, executives are operationally-focused. This means D&A is limited to analyzing branding via social media, which is only one of its many facets.

To learn more about the study, visit kpmg.ca/CEOOutlook.

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