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CEOs still not optimistic

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CEOs are not overly confident about 2013, with fewer business heads remaining positive about the global outlook.

Slightly more than a third (36%) of global leaders are “very confident” of their company’s business growth this year, a drop from 48% in 2011 and 40% last year.

According to PricewaterhouseCooper’s 16th Annual Global CEO Survey, leaders are most worried about social unrest, the possible US recession and cyber attacks of major disruptions on the internet.

The report showed CEOs are taking a three-pronged approach to managing this “disruptive decade”.

Firstly, they are targeting pockets of opportunity by focusing on a few well thought out initiatives, “rather than nurturing numerous different ideas and then weeding out the weakest”. This will allow leaders to consolidate their resources and maximise the odds of success.

Half the CEOs said concentrating on the customer is also one of their top three priorities this year, as market consumption patterns have change and have local nuances that need to be addressed.

The report warned it’s not enough to just engage with the customer through communication. Leaders must remember it is just as critical to create new offerings to remain relevant to their consumer base.

Finally, CEOs will be looking to improve their operational effectiveness, with 70% of leaders planning to do this through cost cutting measures in the next 12 months. Nearly half (47%) will be entering a new strategic alliance or joint venture and 31% will outsource a business process or function to boost effectiveness.

“To navigate through this environment, companies need to develop resilience. This combines an ability to ride out the immediate impact of shocks with a long-term capacity to adapt to constantly changing conditions,” Dennis M. Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International, said in the survey.

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