Hot on the heels of the Bank of England’s ‘worst of both worlds’ assessment of the UK’s economy, the country’s leading CEOs rank inflation and the labour market as their top two concerns. Worries about recessionary risk, climate change, supply chain shocks, geopolitical tensions, regulation and energy follow very closely behind.
When asked about the impact of Brexit five years on, among the same FTSE leaders, 76% said Brexit made supply chain management more difficult, and 67% said it had impacted recruitment. Over half claimed that regulation is also much more difficult than before. This is from 287 responses to this year’s Britain’s Most Admired Companies study, run by Echo Research, and launched at our Annual Summit in London this week.
Looking ahead, the study notes that effective Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) will rise in importance in the next few years, alongside attracting and retaining talent and innovation.
BUILDING RESILIENCE IN THE PERMA-CRISIS
Opening Echo’s Summit, with his considerable leadership expertise and pin-sharp insights into political/business thinking Sir Michael Rake, former Chair of BT Group, Worldpay and easyJet, called on all leaders to embrace strategic long-term planning to overcome the ‘perma-crisis’, and speak out more assertively with employees and government on matters affecting the economy.
As a key role of regulation is to build trust and stimulate innovation, directly engaging with regulators in open constructive conversations is vital, added Christopher Woolard CBE, Global Regulatory Partner, Ernst & Young and Former Interim Chief Executive Officer, Financial Conduct Authority. In particular, he highlighted the FCA's adaptive approach to regulatory policy on innovation which is widely recognised as having played an important part in the UK's global lead in fintech.
Speakers at the Summit also agreed that while rebounding from disruption and challenge is tough, many proved much more agile, responsive and indeed resilient through COVID. Is there a danger we all slip and/or rush back to our old traditional ways?
SIGHTED: SHORT OR FAR?
Too many companies still fall into the ‘say-do gap’ by claiming values they do not live by, according to our Summit’s closing speaker, Ann Francke OBE, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute. Ann called for far greater diversity and inclusivity at all levels of the organisation in order create a dynamic culture of innovation and build up skills through better training and continuous education.
Overall Echo’s Summit found that leaders will increasingly be expected to anticipate and embrace significant change to their business models and ways of working. Are they ready for this?
Recognising the need for change, the best are open to listen, to speak up and be ready to be judged by their actions. Material evidence and foresight will be important ingredients of building resilience and driving transformation in this fast-changing and challenging new world.
We will be publishing the Echo Summit full session recordings and highlights on the Echo website and YouTube soon. If you’d like to have further details on these insights, or explore any of these issues further, please do contact us.