How often have you recently looked at your business, your customers and your competitors and found yourself questioning the types of services and products you’re offering? Maybe you’ve even started to question the type of business you’re currently in?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. In turbulent times, driven by increasing digital adaptation and disruption, your customers don’t act as they did a generation ago. And your competitors are likely to be upstart start-ups or new arrivals from a different industry sector. The smartest companies are the ones that are keen to challenge in-built complacency and quick to adapt to take advantage of these new opportunities.
Indeed, in our most recent CEO Survey, CEOs cited new competitors and changing customer behaviour in the top-three trends likely to disrupt their business over the next five years.
Strategy is central to this ability to adapt and grow. That’s why, one year after PwC’s acquisition of Booz & Company and the formation of Strategy&, we’re so excited about what we can now offer in terms of delivering strategy through execution - helping our clients build the capabilities they need to grow, not just advising them.
We now have a strategy group of more than 5,000 people, putting us in line with the top strategy houses globally. So why are we putting so much stock in the need for smart strategy combined with execution? CEOs tell us that’s what they need.
In today’s business environment, CEOs of global companies lead for five years on average. A major reorganisation is likely to happen only once during that leader’s term and that puts great pressure on the CEO to get it right. Yet 60% of 4,000 top executives say they have no confidence in their strategy, according to research conducted by Strategy&.
Those companies that lack clear direction in their strategic goals, or find themselves spread too thinly because they chase growth on too many fronts, are the ones that are likely to fail. Often, as my colleagues Cesare Mainardi and Paul Leinwand explain in the enlightening video below, CEOs have so many strategies – be it growth, M&A, cost or portfolio management – that they end up undermining each other. By doing so they lose their focus when they should really be asking and solving one critical question: Who do we want to be?
Even when CEOs have a strategy they feel confident about, many doubt that they have the resources and capabilities to carry it through effectively. Still, today, in our always-connected business world, strategy and executive teams often don’t talk to each other, or they operate in an environment of mistrust and misunderstanding. In these situations even the best conceived strategy will quickly fall apart, creating confusion in the company and leaving it vulnerable to competitors who are often leaner and more focused.
That’s why we believe the future of successful companies will combine practical and winning strategy with the capabilities to execute that thinking. And that’s why we’re proud to have Strategy& as part of PwC – so we can put strategy to work and help companies around the globe unlock lasting growth.
Dennis Nally leads the global network of PwC firms. He has extensive experience serving large multinational clients in a variety of industries, principally focusing on technology and life sciences. Dennis is also a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on issues affecting the professional services profession and the global capital markets. Read Dennis Nally's full biography.