Business Growth & Strategy

The top 3 priorities for CEOs in 2023 [New report]

CEO Proijections 2023 Growing Forward

With the aftershocks of the pandemic receding, CEOs navigating this new and ever-changing economic reality. A generationally empowered workforce that rapidly adapted to a hybrid workplace has created hiring and retention challenges. And creating a strategy and finding growth through calculated investments is now more challenging than ever.

Each year, the Q4 Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey captures the major decisions, top investments and leadership challenges of CEOs and other key leaders of small and midsize businesses From thousands of open-ended responses, our analysis has distilled this data into three clear themes that CEOs are focused on for 2023:

  • Workforce volatility
  • Infrastructure to execute
  • Opportunity in the aftermath

Get the Report: CEO Projections 2023

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Gain perspectives on how to address these three themes with our latest research report: CEO Projections 2023: Growing Forward. The insights include an analysis of the economic underpinnings of the aftermath economy, a deep dive into the key themes and a look ahead to the next growth cycle with ominous projections for the 2030s on the horizon.

Included in this report are expert perspectives from speakers in the Vistage community:

  • Connor Lokar, Senior Forecaster for ITR Economics
  • Cara Silletto, CEO of Magnet Culture
  • Dave Nelsen, President of Dialog Consulting Group
  • Gary Braun, Owner and Founder of Pivotal Advisors

Here are some of the highlights from each theme in the report:

1. Workforce volatility

Unemployment rates remain historically low, worker quit rates remain historically high and, while the hiring frenzy of 2022 has passed, the competition for attracting and, most importantly, retaining the workforce is intense. The pressure will continue to ease as the aftermath plays out, but once the growth cycle takes hold, the demand for talent will skyrocket again.

Cara SiIletto, President and Chief Retention office of Magnet Culture, shared her view that “When you invest in your leaders at every level — from executives to department directors to mid-level managers, and all the way down to supervisors and frontline leaders — people want to stay.”

And certainly, CEOs recognize that importance as our data revealed that 80% of CEOs are investing in programs for their managers and leaders.

CEO Projections 2023 Chart 1

2. Infrastructure for Execution

Connor Lokar, Senior Forecaster for ITR Economics, looks at automation as a critical part of managing infrastructure. “We’ve been trying to guide CEOs toward … aggressive investments in their businesses, especially in automation and productivity enhancements,” shares Lokar. Currently, three-quarters (75%) of CEOs are investing in technology to reduce the labor burden on the workforce, and 12% plan to do so in the future.

Technology will continue to dictate the speed of change. AI and ChatGPT are becoming mainstream and supporting initiatives at all levels of the organization. The evolution of the digital workplace creates the platform for a high-performance workplace. Key to that environment is the organizational ability to collaborate.

CEO Pojections 2023 Chart 2

Remote work has negatively impacted collaboration for 60% of small and midsize businesses according to the Q2 2022 Vistage CEO Confidence Index report. Getting good at collaboration is an easy tactic with immediate impact. This starts with choosing a standard collaboration technology that integrates best with your other systems and training individuals on the skills and capabilities of that app. The right technology and training that are then aligned with organizational standards and protocols streamline connectedness in the workplace, especially one that is distributed.

3. Opportunity in the Aftermath

All businesses are operating in the aftermath economy and managing the aftershocks of the pandemic. Some businesses have struggled with slowing customer demand while others experienced continuous growth as a result of last year’s economic surge. Finding opportunities in the aftermath will be a differentiating factor for successful companies.

One area of focus for small and midsize businesses is taking advantage of weakened competitors. From targeting their customers to recruiting their talent to actually acquiring their business, there may be many levels of opportunity to gain market share in the aftermath.

Strategic price increases balanced with customer growth in the face of inflation are where CEOs are finding opportunities as well. Leaders should evaluate not just revenues but order volumes as well to understand the rates of change in customer demand.

Underlying all of these themes is the necessity of building a strong leadership team. Many CEOs cited they were taking a hard look at their organizational structure and leadership team in 2023. They need leaders that can manage the new rules of collaboration and accountability that come with a hybrid workforce.

Leaders can identify strategic growth opportunities and develop plans to get there. And leaders who are foundational at attracting and retaining the workforce to lead their company through this slowdown will be positioned for the next phase of growth.

DOWNLOAD the full report: CEO Projections 2023

Related Resources

CEO sentiment holds with little change from Q3 [Q4 2022 CEO Confidence Index]

CEO Projections 2023: Growing Forward [Webinar on-demand]

Category : Business Growth & Strategy

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About the Author: Joe Galvin

Joe Galvin is the Chief Research Officer for Vistage Worldwide. Vistage members receive the most credible, data-driven and actionable thought leadership on the strategic issues facing CEOs. Through collaboration with the Vistage community of…

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