Ana Paula Jiménez
Country Senior Partner
PWC
/
Expert Contributor

Why Business Transformation Relies on the CEO's Leadership

By Ana Paula Jiménez | Tue, 02/08/2022 - 12:46

As we near the two-year mark of the pandemic, Mexico's CEOs should begin to propose new strategies that not only optimize the lessons learned but also transform their companies and the way they do business.

Our recently published 25th Annual Global CEO Survey – Mexico Chapter provides a glimpse of the CEO's primary concerns and priorities that are part of the holistic transformation essential for the challenges in 2022 and the years to come.

Technology and Human Resources in Focus

Although 88 percent of Mexican CEOs observe an improving global economy during the next 12 months, and 69 percent feel very confident of increasing their company's income in 2022, the main threats that CEOs are most worried about are cyber risks, macroeconomic volatility, and the global health situation.

Given the unexpected digital acceleration in the last two years, it is no surprise that cyber risks appear as the leading concern for CEOs in Mexico. Nevertheless, as technology continues to evolve, the cybersecurity strategy of each company needs to evolve too.

CEOs should focus on establishing security and privacy as operational goals and business imperatives by empowering the CISOs to create cross-functional teams, making cybersecurity part of other key decisions, and continuously training employees, regardless of their area.

Adapting to the constant challenges of technology should be just one of the main topics for the CEO's agenda in 2022; the pandemic has also underlined the employee's needs and expectations. Another key finding is the concern over attracting and retaining talent, which is strongly linked with health risks and social inequality in CEOs' minds.

Cultivating Trust

As new virus variants continue to emerge, hybrid and remote work have shown to be effective for productivity and employee wellness. This scenario redefines the leadership capabilities, where CEOs should consider adopting the new ways of working as a permanent model and create safe spaces for mental health and the development of employees' digital and soft skills.

Employee and consumer engagements are similar when it comes to social issues, such as equity, diversity and inclusion. Leaders should embrace diversity in their management team to bring new and bold ideas, aiming to reach the true, profound transformation that the community expects from companies. For instance, the December 2021 edition of our Global Consumer Insights Survey – Mexico Chapter reflects this growing expectation, as 69 percent of respondents consider purchasing with a retailer that has strong company values and is committed to doing the right thing.

New Markets in Sight

Taking the business to broader markets has also been on the minds of the CEOs in Mexico. Our study shows that over the past three years, China has gained relevance as a top country that chief executives consider most important for their company's prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months.

Even though the US is the leading foreign market for Mexican CEOs and the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has brought benefits to the North American region, the notorious place that China has been taking among Mexican leaders suggests anticipating thoughtful strategies for diversification and significant changes in the local market.

Redefinition of Purpose, Commitment

The challenges facing CEOs today are more complex and go beyond creating sustained outcomes for stakeholders with different interests. They are also linked to critical global concerns, such as climate change, carbon-neutral or net-zero commitment. Business as usual isn't mitigating society's most challenging problems and CEOs need to reimagine their company's purpose beyond financial outcomes.

In the not-too-distant future, companies that do have an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) commitment will have a place in a business chain that is already changing among the largest companies in the country.

The path of transformation that CEOs need to follow so their businesses can thrive in moments largely defined by uncertainty is about wisely investing in technology while including into their business culture diversity, work flexibility, and environmental consciousness.

Acting differently could help bridge the gap between society's expectations and the system in which CEOs are operating; this is the foundation for building trust, resilience, and responsible growth inside a business world that has permanently changed.

Photo by:   Ana Paula Jiménez