“Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.” — Anne M. Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox
Leaders pay attention to Gartner for good reason.
Gartner frames things well and Gartner analysts have a lot of data and feedback from leaders in all industries.
As the business landscape continues to rapidly evolve, CEOs and business leaders are constantly faced with new challenges and opportunities.
To navigate this complex environment and drive business success, it is essential for leaders to stay focused on their key priorities.
According to Gartner, a leading research and advisory firm, there are 10 key priorities that CEOs should focus on in 2023 to drive business success.
These priorities range from technology adoption and innovation to workforce management, financial management, and customer focus.
Let’s explore these top priorities in detail and discuss how leaders can effectively prioritize these areas to achieve their business goals.
Top 10 CEO Priorities According to Gartner in 2023
By focusing on these key priorities, CEOs and business leaders can position their organizations for success in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing business environment.
These priorities cover a wide range of strategic areas, including technology adoption, workforce management, financial management, and environmental sustainability.
By effectively prioritizing these areas, leaders can drive innovation, improve customer satisfaction, and build a more sustainable and profitable business.
The top 10 strategic business priority areas for driving business success in 2023, according to Gartner, include:
- Tech Related
- Products and Services
- Environmental Sustainability
Here is a quick walkthrough of the top 10 CEO Strategic Business Priority areas…
Growth remains the most-often cited priority, but it’s down from the past.
According to Gartner analysis, this decrease is due to the difficulties faced in the supply chain which may make CEOs hesitant to increase demand if they are unable to meet it. Also, some CEOs are saying there is changing in market demand after the pandemic.
By focusing on these areas, leaders can drive growth in 2023 and beyond.
Whether through innovation, talent management, customer experience, digital transformation, strategic partnerships, market expansion, or mergers and acquisitions, there are many ways for leaders to drive growth and stay ahead of the competition in today’s fast-paced business landscape.
Here are some ways that leaders can focus on growth in 2023:
- Innovation: Innovation is key to driving growth. Leaders can focus on developing new products, services, and business models to meet changing customer needs and drive business growth.
- Talent Management: Building a strong team with the right skills and experience is essential for growth. Leaders can focus on attracting and retaining top talent and developing their employees’ skills to drive business success.
- Customer Experience: Delivering an exceptional customer experience is critical for driving growth. Leaders can focus on understanding customer needs and preferences and developing personalized solutions to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Digital Transformation: Embracing digital transformation is essential for driving growth in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Leaders can focus on leveraging new technologies and digital tools to improve business operations and deliver new products and services.
- Strategic Partnerships: Building strategic partnerships with other businesses can help drive growth by expanding into new markets and accessing new customers and resources.
- Market Expansion: Expanding into new markets can help drive growth by accessing new customers and revenue streams. Leaders can focus on developing a strong market entry strategy to ensure success in new markets.
- Mergers and Acquisitions: Mergers and acquisitions can be a powerful way to drive growth by acquiring new technologies, talent, and customers. Leaders can focus on identifying the right acquisition targets and executing successful mergers and integrations.
2. Tech Related
The second most commonly cited issue (34%) was related to technology, such as digitalization, e-commerce, and cybersecurity. CEOs have realized the importance of remote work, e-commerce, and other digital solutions during the pandemic and plan to continue prioritizing technology in their operations.
By prioritizing technology in their operations, leaders can stay ahead of the competition and drive growth in today’s fast-paced business landscape.
Whether through digital transformation, cloud computing, data analytics, cybersecurity, automation, IoT, or AI, there are many ways for leaders to leverage technology to improve their business operations and deliver better customer experiences.
Here are some ways that leaders can prioritize technology in their operations:
- Digital Transformation: Embracing digital transformation is essential for staying competitive in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Leaders can prioritize technology by investing in new digital tools and platforms to improve business operations and customer experiences.
- Cloud Computing: Cloud computing can provide scalable and cost-effective solutions for business operations. Leaders can prioritize technology by adopting cloud-based platforms and tools to improve efficiency and agility.
- Data Analytics: Data analytics can provide insights into business operations and customer behavior. Leaders can prioritize technology by investing in data analytics tools and platforms to improve decision-making and drive growth.
- Cybersecurity: With the increasing importance of data security, leaders can prioritize technology by investing in cybersecurity tools and platforms to protect their business from threats and maintain customer trust.
- Automation: Automation can provide efficiencies and cost savings for business operations. Leaders can prioritize technology by investing in automation tools and platforms to streamline workflows and reduce errors.
- Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT can provide insights into business operations and improve customer experiences. Leaders can prioritize technology by investing in IoT-enabled devices and platforms to monitor and optimize business processes.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI can provide new insights into business operations and customer behavior. Leaders can prioritize technology by investing in AI tools and platforms to automate processes and improve decision-making.
The priority of workforce-related issues, including talent retention, hiring, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), rose significantly for the second consecutive year, placing it as the third most important priority (31%).
This is a significant increase compared to financial issues, such as profitability, cash flow, and capital funding, and corporate initiatives like mergers and acquisitions, strategy changes, and restructuring.
The most frequently cited response (55%) was remote and hybrid work. It received more attention than any other response combined. CEOs view the desire for remote and hybrid work as the biggest change in behavior since the pandemic, and their primary concerns about hybrid work are related to culture and productivity.
By prioritizing workforce-related issues, leaders can create a positive work environment, retain top talent, and drive business success.
Whether through remote/hybrid work, talent retention, hiring, DEI, or mental health, there are many ways for leaders to prioritize their workforce and create a workplace that is inclusive, innovative, and successful.
Here are some ways that leaders can prioritize workforce-related issues, including remote/hybrid work, talent retention, hiring, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI):
- Remote/Hybrid Work: With the shift to remote and hybrid work, leaders can prioritize technology and infrastructure to ensure employees have the tools and resources needed to work effectively from home. They can also focus on creating a culture of trust and flexibility, with clear communication and collaboration channels to maintain productivity and morale.
- Talent Retention: Retaining top talent is crucial for business success. Leaders can prioritize talent retention by offering competitive compensation packages, professional development opportunities, and a positive work environment with opportunities for growth and career advancement.
- Hiring: Leaders can prioritize hiring by developing a strong employer brand and creating a positive candidate experience. They can also leverage technology to streamline the hiring process, automate repetitive tasks, and reduce bias in the selection process.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): DEI is an important priority for modern leaders. Leaders can prioritize DEI by developing a strong DEI strategy and creating a culture of inclusion and belonging for all employees. They can also focus on diversifying their talent pool and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups.
- Mental Health: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on mental health in the workplace. Leaders can prioritize mental health by providing resources and support for employees, creating a culture of open communication, and promoting work-life balance.
By prioritizing corporate responsibility, leaders can create a positive impact on their stakeholders, society, and the environment.
Whether through environmental sustainability, social responsibility, ethical business practices, corporate governance, DEI, or employee well-being, there are many ways for leaders to prioritize corporate responsibility and drive positive change in the world.
Here are some ways that leaders can prioritize corporate responsibility:
- Environmental Sustainability: Leaders can prioritize corporate responsibility by implementing environmentally sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emissions, conserving energy and water, and promoting recycling and waste reduction.
- Social Responsibility: Leaders can prioritize social responsibility by supporting their local communities through charitable giving, volunteerism, and other community outreach efforts.
- Ethical Business Practices: Leaders can prioritize ethical business practices by upholding high ethical standards in their business operations, such as promoting transparency, fairness, and honesty in all business dealings.
- Corporate Governance: Leaders can prioritize good corporate governance by establishing sound policies and procedures for corporate decision-making and accountability, and promoting ethical behavior among their employees and stakeholders.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): DEI is also an important aspect of corporate responsibility. Leaders can prioritize DEI by fostering a culture of inclusivity, creating opportunities for underrepresented groups, and promoting fairness and equal treatment in all business operations.
- Employee Well-being: Leaders can prioritize employee well-being by creating a positive work environment that supports their physical and mental health, offers work-life balance, and promotes overall employee wellness.
Inflation has become a pressing issue for many CEOs, with 62% reporting in 4Q21 that they expect it to be a persistent or long-term concern.
The inflation was initially caused by pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and government spending to support people during lockdowns and furloughs.
The situation has since been compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting economic sanctions.
The disrupted supplies of commodities, such as oil, gas, grain, and neon, from the region will result in increased prices across a variety of industries, from restaurants to semiconductors.
By prioritizing financial matters, CEOs and leaders can create a sustainable and successful business.
Whether through revenue growth, cost management, financial reporting, capital allocation, risk management, or cash flow management, there are many ways for leaders to prioritize financial matters and drive business success.
Here are some ways that CEOs and leaders can prioritize financial matters:
- Revenue Growth: CEOs and leaders can prioritize revenue growth by identifying new opportunities for growth, expanding their customer base, and increasing sales through effective marketing and sales strategies.
- Cost Management: CEOs and leaders can prioritize cost management by implementing strategies to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and eliminate waste in their business operations.
- Financial Reporting: CEOs and leaders can prioritize financial reporting by ensuring that financial statements are accurate, timely, and transparent, and that they comply with all legal and regulatory requirements.
- Capital Allocation: CEOs and leaders can prioritize capital allocation by identifying the best opportunities for investing their resources, such as new product development, research and development, and mergers and acquisitions.
- Risk Management: CEOs and leaders can prioritize risk management by identifying potential risks to their business, such as market volatility, economic uncertainty, and cybersecurity threats, and developing strategies to mitigate those risks.
- Cash Flow Management: CEOs and leaders can prioritize cash flow management by monitoring and managing cash flow, including forecasting future cash flows, managing working capital, and ensuring adequate liquidity.
6. Products and Services
By prioritizing products and services, CEOs and leaders can create a sustainable and successful business.
Whether through customer needs, innovation, productivity, quality, value proposition, or brand identity, there are many ways for leaders to prioritize products and services and drive business success.
Here are some ways that CEOs and leaders can prioritize products and services:
- Customer Needs: Leaders can prioritize products and services by identifying the needs and preferences of their target customers and developing products and services that meet those needs.
- Innovation: Leaders can prioritize innovation by investing in research and development and developing new products and services that meet emerging needs and trends.
- Productivity: Leaders can prioritize productivity by identifying opportunities for streamlining production processes, reducing waste, and improving efficiency.
- Quality: Leaders can prioritize quality by ensuring that products and services meet or exceed customer expectations and that they are delivered in a timely and efficient manner.
- Value Proposition: Leaders can prioritize their value proposition by developing products and services that are unique and offer a clear value proposition to customers.
- Brand Identity: Leaders can prioritize their brand identity by creating a strong brand image and reputation that resonates with customers and sets their products and services apart from competitors.
By prioritizing their customers, CEOs and leaders can create a sustainable and successful business.
Whether through customer needs, customer experience, communication, feedback, personalization, or loyalty, there are many ways for leaders to prioritize their customers and drive business success.
Here are some ways that CEOs and leaders can prioritize their customers:
- Customer Needs: Leaders can prioritize their customers by identifying the needs and preferences of their target customers and developing products and services that meet those needs.
- Customer Experience: Leaders can prioritize the customer experience by ensuring that their customers have a positive experience with their products and services, from initial contact to post-purchase support.
- Communication: Leaders can prioritize communication by maintaining open and clear channels of communication with their customers, including social media, email, and customer support channels.
- Feedback: Leaders can prioritize feedback by actively seeking out and responding to customer feedback, using it to improve products, services, and the overall customer experience.
- Personalization: Leaders can prioritize personalization by tailoring their products and services to the unique needs and preferences of individual customers.
- Loyalty: Leaders can prioritize customer loyalty by developing and implementing customer loyalty programs, offering incentives for repeat business, and cultivating a loyal customer base.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Environmental issues have gained significant attention, placing ninth in the ranking with 9% of respondents citing it as a top three priority. This marks the first time the category has ever made it into the top ten and reflects a substantial increase in interest.
Environmental sustainability has become a pressing concern for business leaders due to increased pressure from customers, investors, regulators, and employees.
Sustainable business is viewed as a way to improve efficiency and drive revenue growth. This marks a significant increase from its position of 14th place just three years ago and 20th place seven years ago.
By prioritizing environmental sustainability, CEOs and leaders can create a positive impact on the environment, society, and the economy.
Whether through energy efficiency, carbon footprint, waste reduction, sustainable supply chains, environmental reporting, or environmental advocacy, there are many ways for leaders to prioritize environmental sustainability and drive positive change in the world.
Here are some ways that CEOs and leaders can prioritize environmental sustainability:
- Energy Efficiency: Leaders can prioritize energy efficiency by reducing energy consumption in their business operations through the use of energy-efficient technologies, practices, and processes.
- Carbon Footprint: Leaders can prioritize their carbon footprint by identifying and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their business operations, including transportation, manufacturing, and office buildings.
- Waste Reduction: Leaders can prioritize waste reduction by implementing waste reduction strategies, such as recycling, composting, and reducing single-use plastics.
- Sustainable Supply Chain: Leaders can prioritize a sustainable supply chain by sourcing sustainable and eco-friendly materials, products, and services from their suppliers.
- Environmental Reporting: Leaders can prioritize environmental reporting by measuring, monitoring, and reporting on their environmental impact and sustainability practices to stakeholders, including customers, employees, and investors.
- Environmental Advocacy: Leaders can prioritize environmental advocacy by using their platform to promote environmental sustainability and to advocate for policies and practices that promote a sustainable future.
By prioritizing cost through these innovative and interesting strategies, CEOs and leaders can drive business success while also creating a more efficient and sustainable business.
Here are some more interesting and innovative ways that CEOs and leaders can prioritize cost:
- Automation: Leaders can prioritize automation by investing in technologies that can automate repetitive tasks and reduce labor costs, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and process automation.
- Collaborative Procurement: Leaders can prioritize collaborative procurement by working with other businesses in their industry to negotiate better prices and terms from suppliers, and share the benefits of cost savings.
- Shared Services: Leaders can prioritize shared services by consolidating and streamlining back-office functions across business units to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
- Outsourcing: Leaders can prioritize outsourcing by identifying non-core functions that can be outsourced to external providers, such as IT, finance, and customer service.
- Lean Operations: Leaders can prioritize lean operations by identifying opportunities to reduce waste and improve efficiency in all areas of the business, such as supply chain, manufacturing, and administration.
- Virtual Teams: Leaders can prioritize virtual teams by leveraging technology to enable remote work, which can reduce overhead costs, increase flexibility, and improve productivity.
By prioritizing sales through these innovative and interesting strategies, CEOs and leaders can drive business success while also creating a more engaging and effective sales process.
Here are some interesting and innovative ways that CEOs and leaders can prioritize sales:
- Personalization: Leaders can prioritize personalization by leveraging customer data to create customized sales experiences that cater to the unique needs and preferences of individual customers.
- Relationship Building: Leaders can prioritize relationship building by fostering strong and long-lasting relationships with customers through regular communication, feedback, and support.
- Digital Marketing: Leaders can prioritize digital marketing by investing in online marketing strategies such as social media, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and content marketing to increase brand visibility and drive sales.
- Gamification: Leaders can prioritize gamification by using game-like mechanics to motivate and engage customers in the sales process, such as offering rewards for completing certain actions or achieving certain milestones.
- Referral Programs: Leaders can prioritize referral programs by offering incentives to customers who refer new business to the company, such as discounts, rewards, or cash bonuses.
- Sales Enablement: Leaders can prioritize sales enablement by providing sales teams with the tools and resources they need to be successful, such as training, product information, and sales collateral.
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