NEW YORK (July 6, 2011) — According to the results of the Conference Board CEO Challenge 2011, chief executives from across the globe cite business growth as the most critical challenge they face, and they're relying more on new ideas, products and markets to spark growth.
The Conference Board's survey queried more than 700 CEOs, presidents and chairmen from across geographies and industries, asking them to identify the most pressing issues they face in today's business environment. More than ever before, business leaders said they are turning to new ideas, products, customers and markets to fuel growth and drive innovation, with a key to accelerated growth being the quality function.
According to a follow-up report to the CEO Challenge—“Answering the 2011 CEO Challenge: Accelerating Growth Through Quality”—executives reported that the quality function is uniquely positioned to accelerate growth through better execution and alignment. Quality also provides the voice of the customer that is critical for developing the innovative products and services that will sell in the marketplace.
Part of the Conference Board Council Perspectives series, the report is based on sessions held by the council as well as interviews and other research. According to the Conference Board, the report “provides a unique look into the minds of senior executives from leading global organizations as they assess, analyze and develop ways to address critical issues.” Members of the Quality Council include executives from Alcoa, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, Nokia, Cisco, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and others.
“Quality management practices today go far beyond statistical tools and a quality assurance mentality,” the Conference Board said. “Council members report that quality deployment approaches are tightly linked to strategy, and take into account trends in globalization, customer sophistication, talent variability, environment and sustainability issues, as well as new communication channels.”
The report provides examples demonstrating the value of the various quality tools and techniques to drive growth, focusing on cost optimization, talent management, government regulation and innovation—which were also identified as highly ranked challenges by CEOs in survey. These include:
- Strengthening end-to-end process management, systems thinking and agility.
- Leveraging and defining quality in the context of driving growth.
- The value of the quality professional as a catalyst for change.
- Incorporating quality fundamentals in development plans for employees and leaders.
- Developing and engaging employees to leverage growth.
- Extending innovation throughout the organization.
- Strengthening knowledge management for feedback on risk management decisions, performance management and customer requirements and expectations.
Today”s quality leader must not only contribute to operational efficiency, but also possess a macro view of the business—cutting across and linking functions, geographies and business lines, the report stated.
The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association which states its mission is “to provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society.”