As cheesy as the saying goes, the only thing that is constant is change. We are in the era where the business landscape is rapidly changing because of the booming technology sector. To cope with the change, even the best CEO needs high-performance associates to help the company power through these uncertain times.

Many senior executives may be confident in their ability to adapt to the disruptions that technological change brings but a new study from global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson suggests that they may be a bit too optimistic about their competence.

The study was conducted in person by Mark Braithwaite, managing director of Odgers Berndtson Asia Pacific, over six months. During which, CEOs and regional CEOs across Asia Pacific from 70 multinationals were interviewed face to face regarding their views on how they respond to disruptions driven by new technology.

In the study, disruptions are identified and categorised into three themes:

  • Strategy: The need for change in the business model to cope with the evolving business environment and customer behaviours.
  • Talent: The change of expectations of employees to employers.
  • Effective leadership: The complexity of the diverse markets in the APAC region.

The findings are a bit concerning – while many senior executives think that they are reactive when facing disruptive change, only half of them have the right mindset to be effective, according to 71% of chief executives being interviewed.

Braithwaite said in a statement that most CEOs understand the importance of the challenge. However, he added, “Many find it challenging to ensure their top teams also buy in with the new journey. A common theme is that past success with current business models holds back the ability of individuals to accept the need for a new approach, the pace of change has stepped up and not everyone has the mindset to cope.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 63% of CEOs say they are reacting to disruptive forces - rather than anticipating and leading change.
  • 26% of CEOs believe they are initiators of disruption by investing heavily in technology and innovative business models, many of which are created in APAC.
  •  11% of CEOs described themselves as currently passive – they know disruption is coming but are not yet affected.