Help Wanted: CEOs who can think strategically

Forty percent of global CEOs think their organization will no longer be economically viable if it continues on its current course in ten years. Maybe that’s because they are paid on short-term results, not on building a strategic vision for their company.

Most of those CEOs feel it’s essential to reinvent their businesses for the future. They also face daunting near-term challenges, starting with the global economy, which nearly 75% believe will see declining growth during the year ahead. 75%? What the hell are they doing?

About half or more surveyed CEOs cited changing customer preferences, regulatory change, skills shortages, and technology disruption when asked about the forces most likely to impact their industry’s profitability over the next ten years. Roughly 40% flagged the transition to new energy sources and supply chain disruption. And nearly one-third pointed to the potential for new entrants from adjacent industries.

As a marketer, I understand that customers are changing and brands are becoming more irrelevant, but I also know that most brands have believed their bullshit too much.

Take Harry’s men’s shaving products. The owners built a brand via DTC marketing and had good word of mouth on social media. Then the brand is sold, and Harry’s products are available at Costco and have expanded into many more men’s products. This brand will fade away because the buyers want to get every last dollar, like wringing out a sponge.

FedEx is another brand that is declining. To a lot of people shipping FedEx once meant guaranteed delivery. Those days are past. Now they’re laying off managers as well as rank and file. I will never use FedEx again because of numerous problems. Their CEO should be out on his ass.

Finally, there is Starbucks. The brand once meant a great cup of coffee beverages but not anymore. Now it’s lines and unhappy employees. The last two times I went to a Starbucks, they got my order wrong.

The ultimate responsibility for this mess falls directly on the CEOs. The CEO of Google, who recently laid off thousands of people, got caught in the AI disruption, and their clocks are being cleaned. Not only did they lay off people, but they also laid off some of their best people. No organization can survive that.

Consumers today know what brands are doing and how they treat customers. Customers only welcome endless people in the Philippines’ phone trees and customer service, so consumers are changing brands. Research shows that consumers will only give a brand one mistake before dropping them like a heavy rock.

The CEO’s job is to build a company that competes now and in the future, but they are compensated on what happens this year, not in 2-5 years. They also have to get buy-in on their vision from every manager and employee. How do you think the managers at FedEx feel knowing layoffs are coming?

Senior executive talent is lacking. Today they worship investors and the balance sheet over employees and customers. For that, THEY WILL pay the price.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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