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C-suite goal: Keep up with new technology

Executive leaders are just like everyone else — aiming to stay current with today’s ever-changing workplace.

Keeping up with new technology is the top personal challenge for C-suite executives, followed closely by balancing career and personal life, and embracing change and innovation, according to a new survey.

Chief, a networking organization for senior executive women, and Wakefield Research found that 43% of executives named “keeping up with new technology” as their top hurdle for 2024, according to C-Suite Executives on the Job’s Changing Demands. The other challenges were balancing career and personal life (41%), embracing change and transformation (40%), finding time for professional development (39%), motivating teams (37%), and avoiding burnout (37%).

The survey was conducted from 600 executives at U.S. companies with a minimum of 500 employees in January.

“From advances in AI to data storage and protection, connectivity, sustainability, and much more, technology is changing the world and workplace at a rapid clip,” the report said. “Executives know their success hinges on understanding how these breakthroughs might impact their organizations and industries.”

Overall, slightly more than half of executives expected leadership to be more challenging this year than in 2023, and most said that external factors will have a greater impact on their organization’s success than internal ones.

Other findings in the report:

  • 33% of leaders identified “changing worker expectations, including compensation and culture” as the top challenge for their organization, followed closely by cybersecurity threats and data privacy concerns (32%), keeping up with AI and other disruptive technologies (30%), and difficulty identifying and training the right talent (30%).
  • While almost one-third of executives aimed to stay current with AI and other disruptive technologies, only 10% saw generative AI playing a big role for their company in the coming year.
  • More than 40% of executives said the ability to adapt to changes quickly will be the top leadership skill needed this year, followed by building high-performing teams, and understanding and promoting diversity, inclusion, and access.
  • C-suite leaders were split on whether the contributions of company leadership or the contributions of the workforce will be more instrumental to their organization’s success: 53% said their leadership will be the driving force.

Finally, almost all executives (96%) believe that an effective leader must support employees in both their professional and personal lives. Almost one-third (31%) acknowledged they could be doing more to support their employees’ personal lives, and 62% said the workplace has reached a good balance when it comes to engaging workers.

“While new workplace norms call for a more empathetic approach to leadership and greater workplace flexibility,” the report said, “executives are acutely aware they must balance those needs with external pressure to drive results.”

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