UK CEOs are lagging behind when it comes to focusing on innovation rather than customer relations, a new study suggests.
Customer relationships are the most important consideration for British chief executives, research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows.
The finding is at odds with results form elsewhere in the world where CEOs highlight innovation and development of workforces as more important.
The CMI believes that this focus on customers could ‘stifle’ the early signs of recovery and optimism as no other economy in the world is so client focussed.
Further results from the CMI survey finds that UK chief executives are more conscious of corporate brand and reputation than anyone else globally, picking it as the fifth most important factor.
Ann Francke, CMI chief executive, says that it ‘makes sense’ to put customers first, but danger comes when this comes at the expense of other priorities.
She adds, ‘When the rest of the world is prioritising people and innovation, can we afford not to be?
‘Senior executives in the UK should focus more on developing their workforces and driving innovation so they can compete with economic powerhouses like China.’
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The fact that training budgets in the UK have been under pressure for so long can be attributed to a lower than average view of people as a CEOs top strategic challenge, the CMI says.
The survey also cites the finding that only one in five UK managers are the beneficiaries of formal management qualifications and suggests that this ‘casts doubt’ over whether future CEOs are developing the skills needed to succeed.
Francke says, ‘CMI research show investing in management and leadership qualifications makes better managers, increasing performance by 23 per cent and lifting staff performance by 32 per cent.’
The CMI’s survey questioned 729 respondents, of which 40 were UK CEOs.