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11 Feb. 2016 | Comments (0)

Each year, The Conference Board releases the CEO Challenge, a report that asks CEOs, presidents, and chairmen across the globe to identify the most critical challenges and the strategies they intend to use to meet them. For the past few years, issues of societal impact—including sustainability, community building or diversity inclusion—have begun to feature more prominently in the lists of top challenges. The 2016 edition continues that trend.

In CEO Challenge: 2016 Edition, respondents show a focus on building organizational capability and high-performing cultures around engagement, inclusion, and continual improvement to drive better business results and inspire innovation. The other five “big picture trends” identified by company leaders include:

  • Overcoming a critical shortage of talent globally
  • Getting their organizations aligned and making them more agile—supported by effective, enterprise-wide communication
  • The role of cost management and strengthening process improvement to mitigate risk
  • Leveraging differences to make a difference
  • The importance of building strong organizational cultures to drive performance

There is relevance to the corporate philanthropy field among these trends. We’ve spoken at length on this blog and in other publications about the usefulness of volunteering opportunities and other community-focused employee engagement programs (such as matching gift initiatives) to attract and retain the best talent, and our recent report Better Together: Why a United Front Can Propel Diversity and Inclusion and Corporate Philanthropy in the United States outlines the important role of community work to leverage “differences to make a difference.”

When considering how to build organizational cultures, CEO Challenge notes that leaders’ preferred strategies for meeting this trend align with another report from The Conference Board, DNA of Engagement: How Organizations Create and Sustain Highly Engaging Cultures. Of particular relevance is the strategy to develop an “organizational philosophy that emphasizes a core purpose.” This is, of course, a strategy for which corporate philanthropy plays an important role. 

  • About the Author:Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson is Principal of Parky Communications, a communications agency specializing in sustainability and CSR reporting and communications. He serves as the Co-Leader of The Conference Board Cor…

    Full Bio | More from Alex Parkinson


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