Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the 2010 IBM Global Chief Executive Officer Study
Introductory letter from the [IBM] Chairman (Samuel J. Palmisano): In a very short time, we've become aware of global climate change; of the geopolitical issues surrounding energy and water supplies; of the vulnerabilities of supply chains for food, medicine and even talent; and of sobering threats to global security. The common denominator? The realities-and challenges-of global integration. We occupy a world that is connected on multiple dimensions, and at a deep level-a global system of systems. That means, among other things, that it is subject to systems-level failures, which require systems-level thinking about the effectiveness of its physical and digital infrastructures. It is this unprecedented level of interconnection and interdependency that underpins the most important findings contained in this report. Inside this revealing view into the agendas of global business and public sector leaders, three widely shared perspectives stand in relief:
- The world's private and public sector leaders believe that a rapid escalation of "complexity" is the biggest challenge confronting them. They expect it to continue indeed, to accelerate-in the coming years. - They are equally clear that their enterprises today are not equipped to cope effectively with this complexity in the global environment. - Finally, they identify "creativity" as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.
What we heard through the course of these in-depth discussions is that events, threats, and opportunities aren't just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they are converging and influencing each other to create entirely unique situations. These first-of-their-kind developments require unprecedented degrees of creativity-which has become a more important leadership quality than attributes like management discipline, rigor or operational acumen. As always, our biennial examination of the priorities of CEOs around the world provides terrific insight into both the world as they see it, and ultimately, what sets the highest-performing enterprises apart. For me personally, I find one fact especially fascinating. Over the course of more than 1,500 face-to-face interviews with CEOs and other leaders, with not a single question containing the term "Smarter Planet" -and yet the conversations yielded primary findings that speak directly to exactly what IBM has been saying about the challenges and opportunities of this fundamental shift in the way the world works.
1.How do these global complexities affect HRM?