What does it take to be a great CEO?

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If you look at the world today, it’s become so much more complex and so much more uncertain that being a CEO has become increasingly more difficult.

I’ve had the opportunity over the last year or so to talk to more than 100 CEOs. And I would say is that there are a few things which are really occupying their minds. The first, and this might surprise you, is geopolitics. In many ways, CEOs were used to operating in a certain environment which they took as given. But I think the way geopolitics are playing out today, whether it’s in the form of disruptions in supply chain and where you can and can’t operate, or the suddenness of shifts that are happening causing huge discontinuities to business planning. So, business planning has become quite a challenge. I would say that’s number one.

Number two is talent. We use the phrase, “the war for talent,” but it’s much more than just that. It’s the shifts in the talent market that are taking place, and I think that’s something which CEOs, just as context, really are struggling with.

Third, I would say—and again, this is well-known but the extent of it is massive—is technological disruption. Technology is fundamentally changing the way you do business—it’s changing the way customers expect business to be done, and their expectations are sky high.

In many instances, customers are changing the organization as well. And the speed of technological disruption is something that organizations which were built for the 20th century are struggling to adapt to in the 21st century. So these, among a few things, are very much on CEOs’ minds these days.

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