> We just completed the survey in late November 2017. Not too many surprises from other years, or from our general expectations. Some of the results can act as a decent reminder for us all.


The top five business challenges began with Operating Cost Management. This remains consistent as #1 or #2, year after year. After speaking with many of you participating, it’s become clear to us that frequently this is mentioned as the result of challenges elsewhere. You may be concerned about operating costs, for example, because your management team is missing productivity or effectiveness targets…

…which is a great segue into the #2-ranked business challenge: Management and Leadership Performance.

Something near and dear to our hearts, obviously, and it seems to be a priority in your world as well. A couple of things stand out, particularly after a few follow-up conversations:

  1. Succession planning is still like the pea in Princess and the Pea; a continued challenge obscured by twenty layers of present-day priorities. We have to get better. Naming a potential replacement at the last moment is not “announcing a succession plan,” it’s replacement planning, and frankly, shows a lack of planning in general.
  2. Leadership pipeline development, the next-level from succession planning, is on many minds. Consider constant aging and retirement of boomers coupled with developmental shortfalls with our younger generations, and we’re headed toward a perfect storm. Someone must lead the rabble.

Individually (personally), your top challenge was managing change while maintaining focus. Gone are the days where each change gets summarily vetted through the organization prior to implementing, ensuring wide swaths of buy-in. No, we’re discovering what it’s like to change the oil in a car while driving down the road. At 80mph. In the rain. With our mother-in-law sitting in the back seat telling us to slow down.

It won’t get easier, though I do hope we can get better at it. Leading change is a learned skill, and though generalizing a bit, appears to be a key characteristic of some of the younger generations. Maybe join forces?

Staffing challenges will not lessen any in 2018, it seems. 36% see a slight increase in staffing for 2018, almost 10% see a significant increase with 44% staying the same. That leaves only 10% looking at reducing staff size in 2018. The war for talent rages on.

We’ll provide more detail from the survey throughout the year. Please download and utilize as you see fit and let us know if we can answer any questions. We’re here to help.

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