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The C-Suite Challenge 2020: Your Future-Ready Organization

August 2020
Alexandra Lekkou
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The C-Suite Challenge 2020: Your Future-Ready Organization Cover Image

New survey polls senior execs on strategy, leadership, and culture

The year 2020 is a pivotal time for businesses, one in which it is necessary to rethink and reshape, and to look ahead with a longer-term and open-minded perspective. As trusted business partners to our clients, we at Stanton Chase are determined not only to continue working side by side with them but also to connect businesses in a constructive dialogue, sharing insights, trends, and best practices that can ensure the events and changes of 2020 represent a positive challenge.

To that end, we have designed an online survey addressed to general management and HR management senior executives to gain insights that we can then share with the wider business community. The survey focuses on three interwoven drivers of organizational performance: strategy, leadership, and culture. Managing these aspects effectively at such a turning point is vital for survival now and success tomorrow.

Our findings shed light on businesses’ outlook, strategic priorities, and practices.


What Does The Business Landscape Look Like In 2020 And Ahead?

To brace themselves for the looming financial fallout, organizations around the world are taking swift action. As we strive to meet the extraordinary challenges of the day, companies should carefully consider what the post-COVID-19 landscape will look like and how to position themselves to thrive within the changed environment.

In light of this, 59% of the survey’s respondents stated that culture management and leadership development were among their key strategic priorities to prepare their organizations for the transformed world, coupled with the necessity of implementing extended digital transformation (44%) initiatives to accelerate adaption to the new demands, while 40% cited cultivating and embracing new and agile ways of working as a key priority.



How Are Leaders Ready To Drive Their Organizations Into The Future?

As companies have adapted to new ways of working at a speed they would never have imagined previously, leaders were asked to take more radical approaches to decision-making and processes. They had to streamline decisions and processes, empower frontline leaders, and suspend slow-moving hierarchies and bureaucracies.

In that context, a majority of the respondents (65%) said their leaders rose to the occasion in successfully navigating their organizations through these unprecedent challenges.

Additionally, throughout this pandemic experience, we have witnessed certain leadership traits that leaders should tap into to thrive together with their organizations in the post-COVID world.

According to the respondents, these should include the ability to articulate a bold and flexible vision (67%), cultivate a culture of agility and innovation (51%) and engage employees, and leading change with empathy and integrity (64%). The most forward-thinking leaders will be those who are able to adapt to constant changes (58%) and who embrace and showcase a growth mindset (58%) enabling them to take the bold actions necessary to reimagine the future for their organization.




How Is Culture Utilized As An Enabler Of Business Success?

When asked whether the leaders of their organizations act as advocates and enablers of the right culture, participants stated that they were somewhat satisfied (54%) with their efforts.

Business organizations experience not only episodic but also continuous and disruptive changes. Based on the business transformational experience of many prominent companies, organizational culture is one of the pivotal factors that can make or break the transformation. It can be an asset or a liability. According to our survey’s findings, culture transformation is one of the five topics at the top of companies’ agendas and is considered the second-most important obstacle in strategy delivery.

As other studies have shown, most organizations are faced with a gap between optimal and actual culture and leadership. Bridging this gap by fostering a strong functional culture anchored by business priorities and strategic cornerstones significantly increases a company’s value and performance indicators.

In that context, our survey’s respondents selected as vital dimensions at the core of a future ready organization agility and innovation (67%), openness and trust (46%), and  growth mindset and learning (40%).

Survey’s Questions:


To ensure sustainable growth, it is imperative for companies to take transformational initiatives by instilling an agile philosophy in the corporate DNA. Moreover, for organizations to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, leaders have to learn how to build a culture of trust and openness by building transparency into processes and decision-making, sharing information openly, and accepting mistakes as a learning opportunity. Lastly, embedding a learning culture has proved crucial for fortifying organizational capabilities to innovate through collaboration and anticipate business challenges and opportunities before these changes occur.

Key Takeaways

This a crucial time for engaging in strategy alignment, leadership development, and culture transformation. Effectively managing these key drivers now will have a significant impact on the future of an organization and bring a significant return on investment. We have a unique opportunity to make our businesses better, stronger, and more able to successfully face a future characterized by disruption.

About the Author:
Alexandra Lekkou is a Director at the Stanton Chase Athens office.

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