1st Executive Blog

21 Aug What comes 1st people or strategy?

In March of this year The Predictive Index surveyed 156 CEOs to discover their top priorities for 2019. When I saw the chart below at the top of the article one thing struck me. While Talent Strategy was second on the list; Strategy Development, Operational Execution and Strategy Alignment which closely followed, could not be achieved without top talent. These factors, together with Talent Strategy account for 94% of CEOs number one priorities. We have noticed that the majority of the executive search briefs that we have received during 2019 have a common thread of strategy, operational excellence, and alignment.


Scrolling further down the article, I noted that The Predictive Index had data that agreed with our reaction when they asked CEOs what were their biggest challenges? “Finding the right talent” came out on top and certainly in executive search we are seeing much wider international reach and exploration across different industries to find the best talent for executive roles with salary packages above $300,000. 

The Predictive Index, in the chart below, further identified that of 14 substantial challenges 8 were related to talent optimisation. It’s also hard to believe that any of the other six could be achieved satisfactorily without having exceptional talent.


We have written extensively on changes in the way that executive learning is delivered and absorbed both by individual executives and by their organisations.  What is becoming clear is that many executives that we speak with during an executive search process are keen to understand not only what their potential new job will do for their career, but also how the learning environment can continue to develop their executive skills without impacting on the time required for their ongoing business performance.

Just a couple of months after The Predictive Index’s report, Gartner revealed that CEO priorities were shifting towards growth challenges. While the Gartner information suggested that CEO focus on the workforce had declined as a priority item, the fact that growth (and one would assume profit) ranked as the number one priority then it is hard to avoid the conclusion that great people still play the most important role in this. 

One thing is for certain, that whatever the changing priorities are for CEOs, the ability of executive search processes to find the best people from an industry anywhere in the world is fundamental to business success.

If you want to understand where your business needs the most leadership development, feel free to complete a complimentary Growth and Profit Solutions Diagnostic here.


Credits: The Predictive Index. Gartner Inc.