CEOs are feeling the pressure in 2013. New research has found that nearly one in four CEOs considers "failure to perform to stakeholder expectations" to be the biggest threat to their tenure in 2013. That's nearly twice as many as the number who said so last year.
"Coming out of the recession, CEOs and their stakeholders have refocused on investments in growth," said Thomas Saporito, chief executive officer and chairman of RHR International, which conducted the research. "The previous economic environment was just not conducive to that approach. Now that the possibilities are greater, CEOs and stakeholders must act in concert. Well-managed companies embrace their stakeholders rather than try to manage their expectations."
"We are now in a time where increased transparency is part of the social contract businesses have with their stakeholders," Saporito added. "Moving forward, we will continue to see CEOs be more open regarding the processes that make up the organization."
Of the 100 CEOs surveyed from public and private companies, 57 said they will be driving a change in their company strategy this year. However, many CEOs also remarked that they want their employees to know that they do not necessarily hold all the right answers for their organizations. Saporito said CEOs can ease the pressure on themselves by sharing some responsibility with their employees.
The survey also revealed some interesting feelings regarding succession planning and nurturing talent. In particular, the researchers found that more-experienced chief executives are more likely than first-time CEOs to coach talent themselves, while first-time CEOs look to expose talent to board members in an attempt to develop senior leaders.
Additionally, researchers found that one-quarter of CEOs begin to plan for their exit after just one year on the job. Saporito said CEOs would be better served using that time in other ways.
"Typically, using very early stages of tenure for succession planning is only fitting when the successor is coming from outside of the organization, as it allows the board time to become familiar with that person," Saporito said.