Revenue Growth is Top Objective

by CXOtoday Staff    Oct 29, 2008

CEOs said that growth is their top objective (84% of respondents). Customer satisfaction and margin improvement continue to round out the top three growth objectives.

Frost & Sullivan, in its second annual CEO Survey said conversely, cost reduction and working capital are the lowest growth objectives rated. CEOs also have varied ideas on how to achieve this coveted growth. While the largest proportion (23%) of CEOs report that competitive strategy has been their number one success for growth during the past three years, over half of respondents stated that both competitive strategy and strategic partnering are two of the top three strategies they have utilized to secure the most growth (both 54%). Additionally, product launch and geographic expansion have also been utilized by nearly half (both 47%). The least successful growth strategy appears to be growth outsourcing (13%).

The numbers are clear, said Tonya Fowler, director of competitive benchmarking services for Frost & Sullivan. CEOs remain committed to growth, and will utilize a combination of strategies to achieve this goal.

However, CEOs realize the need for a competent, experienced management team in place to carry out growth strategies. In the survey, significantly fewer CEOs report having a dedicated team for growth strategy compared to last year’s results (down 22 percentage points to 38%). As might be expected, said Fowler, CEOs are the most significant contributors for developing growth strategies compared to others within their organizations.

Economic downturns or a slowing economy often provide the most punishing environments in which to pursue growth strategies. However, Frost & Sullivan said that CEOs do not appear to be reacting negatively to the uncertain economy. Specifically, 67% of CEOs are aggressively seeking growth opportunities to counter an anticipated economic slowdown. Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents report that the media’s threat of a recession has had no effect on their growth strategies. Yet, 62% believe that the media threat of a recession is negatively impacting their customers’ spending.

Corporate reputation is viewed as very critical to long- term strategic goals (85% of respondents), with CEOs relying upon internal and external opinion surveys as well as media relations to measure their corporate reputation. Many CEOs believe that their boards of directors evaluate their success on the improvement of corporate reputation, the survey said.

The assessment presented questions on growth plans, organizational abilities, management development, external and internal corporate challenges, media perceptions, and corporate reputation to CEOs, presidents, and chairpersons across all industry categories in all regions, according to a F&S statement.