Thank you to those who participated in The Executive Connection Business Leaders Confidence Index. This is a quarterly survey measuring the economic outlook and sentiment of New Zealand business leaders. The Executive Connection CEO Confidence Index September Quarter 2019 was conducted between 19 June – 5 July 2019 and includes responses from Business Leaders through out New Zealand.
The results detailed below will provide perspectives to help you make decisions that optimize your business and enhance leadership.
Economic outlook bleak
Leaders of small-to-medium organisations across New Zealand hold genuine concern for the state of the economy and outlook for the year ahead, according to The Executive Connection, September Quarter 2019. In part, this uncertainty in economic conditions can be attributed to policy changes and the economic growth rate stabilising. More than half (57 per cent) of SME leaders in New Zealand believe economic conditions have worsened when compared to a year ago.
Looking ahead, 55 per cent of leaders anticipate the economy will decline further over the next 12 months, and 40 per cent expect economic conditions to steady.
Leaders confident about what they can control
While SME leaders are concerned about external influences outside of their control, their outlook on indicators within their own business is more positive. In the next 12 months, 52 per cent of CEOs and business leaders predict sales revenues will increase, 37 per cent believe profitability will rise and 41 per cent predict they will increase their headcount. Another positive indicator of leaders’ confidence in their business offerings is that 58 per cent anticipate prices to remain steady in the year ahead, versus just 5 per cent who expect them to decrease.
Efficiency unlocks competitiveness
More than 84 per cent of New Zealand leaders are implementing new strategies to improve competitiveness in the market. For these leaders, future business success comes down to creating operational efficiencies. Areas of focus are reduced production time, automation of complex processes or upskilling employees to add greater value into other areas of the business.
Incremental innovation is also a key driver for smart leaders looking to create sustainable growth strategies. Leaders appear to be spending more time on making improvements to existing products and services, versus creating new ones entirely from scratch. This demonstrates the need to evolve continuously, to ensure leaders maximise the value of their operations today and tomorrow.
SME leaders reveal people and culture as top challenges
The CEO Confidence Index has revealed that building a high performing team (60 per cent) and building and maintaining culture (43 per cent) are the top two business challenges. With 41 per cent of leaders planning to increase their headcount in the year ahead, talent will likely remain a top priority for leaders across the nation.