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Survey: Advancements in leadership, talent and innovation limited by misalignment of investments, priorities and incentives

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Survey: Advancements in leadership, talent and innovation limited by misalignment of investments, priorities and incentives

C-suite executives recognize the need to transform their businesses, but are not taking a holistic approach.

According to a survey by professional services firm Deloitte, America's top leaders, chief executive officers and chief executives-in-waiting have a very high level of confidence despite global volatility. Results show 69% of CXOs and 56% of CXOWs feel very confident they will outperform the competition in the next year, compared to 66% of CXOs and 63% of CXOWs in 2014.

However, some doubts are emerging as executives, particularly those just outside the C-suite, struggle with how to transform their businesses and disrupt their industries in an unstable and increasingly competitive marketplace. 

C-suite leaders cited rapid technology changes, talent skills gaps and a lack of investment in their own products and processes as their top concerns in the survey.

Business leaders are taking a particularly narrow view of innovation, which could hinder their efforts.

"In order for business leaders to transform their organizations, they have to look more broadly across the organization and align changes, incentives, and investments with their priorities – even across organizational silos," said Janet Foutty, CEO and chairman of Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Our survey shows that there are opportunities to carry desired changes through every element of a company's business model rather than just focusing energy in one or two areas. A more holistic approach will create new opportunities to outperform in an environment where competition is increasingly fierce."

Survey responses revealed that while business leaders are focusing on key areas of concern to transform their organizations through innovation, bold leadership and talent, they are still not comprehensively integrating strategies across the organization. 

Innovation — The C-Suite's Narrow Approach: The report found C-suite leaders repeatedly exhibit inconsistencies when it comes to prioritizing and investing in innovation. Executives stated that besides their own leadership, their ability to innovate more than competitors is the highest source of their business confidence. However, survey results show that business leaders are taking a particularly narrow view of innovation, which could hinder their efforts.

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