If you want to get ahead you have to look ahead
Medical research shows that the further people look ahead, the longer they’re likely to live. What’s true for people is surely true for companies as well. In an age of tumultuous change in X-factors (economic and future megatrends such as technology, demography and consumer behaviour) it is crucial for a company to catch them before they catch it.
This means that CEOs must develop a much deeper understanding of changes in the external environment than previously thought. In ordinary times a superficial knowledge of the external macro environment sufficed. But in extraordinary times such an approach will be woefully insufficient. CEOs need to do 3 things:
(1) Identify the X-factor megatrends and sub-megatrends likely to impact their business.
(2) Develop a much deeper understanding of these X-factors.
(3) Most importantly, deepen their understanding of the link between the X-factors and their business.
The crucial point here is that whilst the X-factors are uncontrollable, they don’t have to be unforeseeable. The aim of CEOforesight is to help CEOs ‘think’ and ‘link’ the X-factors impacting their business.
Research shows that only 13 percent of UK companies think they’re very good at analysing the future external environment. But 9 out of 10 think analysing the future external environment is important or very important. There’s a real competitive advantage to be gained here. You don’t have to be perfect at forward thinking, because that’s impossible and there’s no crystal ball, but you do have to be better than your competitors. CEOforesight has been formed to help you gain that edge.
The CEO is directly responsible for developing and implementing strategy. A CEO can’t ‘strategize’ without deep thinking, and you can’t think deeply about the future without reference to the external business environment. What’s required is for the CEO to ‘own’ the future. By this we mean that the CEO owns the understanding of the relationship between a company and its external environment, so that when he/she is thinking about micro strategic forces (competitors, suppliers, new entrants, product innovations etc) they can combine it with a macro understanding of future economic, technological and demographic megatrends and sub-megatrends.
Owning this understanding helps to influence the Board and senior management in a more powerful way. It also helps the CEO to be able to make the case for change throughout the organisation.