CEOs are unprepared for the future

New research from the Global Future Forum (GFF) reveals that the world’s largest companies are not doing enough to plan for their futures.

In a survey that quizzes the top executives of Fortune Global 500 companies, 58% admitted to being less than effective at managing change within the organisation but seemed to be doing little to anticipate or prepare for it.

The survey says that the world’s CEOs foresee change arriving in the form of restructuring (53%) and mergers and acquisitions (50%). The GFF is said to be concerned that organisations seem to be anticipating ‘more of the same’ rather than effectively planning for the future by considering some of the radical changes that could face its business over the next 5 – 10 years.

For example, the survey has found that some of the world’s top executives anticipate little improvement in the ethical conduct of their businesses over the next 5 years. This, according to the GFF, could prove fatal given the rise of consumer power and the movement towards responsible capitalism.

The GFF, envisaged by Unisys, is an independent partnership of futurists, academics and business gurus, which has been formed to help organisations better prepare for the future. Working with author and management authority Robert Heller, it has conducted the survey, entitled the ‘Business Organisation Survey’ to examine the issues surround the changing face of business over the next five to ten years.

“The lack of awareness and interest in the future displayed by so many chief executives is alarming but not that surprising given that so few expect to remain in place beyond 5 years,’ said David Smith, CEO of the GFF.

Smith added: “I hope this survey is a useful exercise in forcing the world’s most powerful companies to look towards the future and, in particular, start to consider their own ethical conduct.

‘We feel that the cynicism towards global organisations will continue to grow, and consumers will increasingly choose to deal with organisations that demonstrate a more caring and responsible attitude to the environment and to people. Ethical practices will therefore become an increasingly important selling point and businesses will need to demonstrate environmental sustainability.”

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