CEOs report greater rate of change - and expect more in 2024

22 January 2024 Consultancy-me.com 4 min. read
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Business leaders faced an all-time high rate of change in 2023 – and a majority of them expect that will likely continue this year. That is according to a report from Accenture, which surveyed over 3,400 C-suite leaders on their outlook for 2024 when it comes to adapting to changes.

Disruption is a mainstay for businesses in most sectors around the world. CEOs must take a proactive approach to staying on top of things because the reality is that from one day to the next, things can be flipped upside down.

Big changes have come in recent years, like major advances in technology and disruptions in supply chains. The Accenture report found the rate of change business leaders reported facing increased by 183% over the past four years, and 33% in just the past year.

CEOs report greater rate of change - and expect more in 2024

Source, Accenture, Pulse of Change Index

Looking forward, 88% of respondents said they anticipate an even faster rate of change in their sectors in 2024.

The report found that business leaders believe technology is overall the primary source of change. A total of 61% of surveyed leaders said they expect the pace of technology disruption to accelerate even more in the coming twelve months.

In 2023, technology disruption surged to 88%, marking a substantial rise from its sixth position in 2022 to secure the top spot, primarily propelled by advancements in generative AI. However, despite this rapid evolution, only 27% assert that their organizations are prepared to scale up generative AI capabilities.

CEOs report greater rate of change - and expect more in 2024

Source, Accenture, Pulse of Change Index

Notably, business leaders are quite split in half when it comes to preparedness. Overall, 52% of CEOs said they do not feel fully prepared to respond to the changes they will face in 2024. That percentage was higher in specific areas like the environment and geopolitics.

That should come as no surprise considering the effects of climate change and worrying geopolitical conflicts are both creating havoc around the world, forcing companies to adapt as quickly as they can. Those are both sources of stress that are almost certain to continue being a major factor in 2024.

Nearly half (47%) of leaders surveyed said they do not feel prepared for the rate of disruption in the realm of technology. Only 27% of leaders globally said they are currently ready to scale up generative AI tools in their businesses, with the rest needing months or years still to get to that point.

CEOs report greater rate of change - and expect more in 2024

Source, Accenture, Pulse of Change Index

With the proliferation of extremely powerful AI technologies in a huge range of sectors, businesses are feeling immense pressure to get on board with adopting AI and generative AI tools. But it is not just AI – other innovative tech has been exploding in recent years, like the metaverse, automation, and even quantum computing.

“We believe that the companies that will succeed in the next decade are those that embrace a strategy of continuously reinventing every part of their business using technology, data and AI, including harnessing the power of generative AI, and ensuring their people are at the center of their transformations,” said Ng Wee Wei, senior managing director at Accenture.

A separate survey of CEOs conducted by AlixPartners recently also found that the rate of change for this year is expected to be high – but that might not necessarily be a bad thing. Most CEOs reported that they thrive in an environment with a lot of disruption.