Survey Reflects Dramatic Change in Top Executive Priorities

Last Updated Nov 20, 2008 1:09 PM EST

What a difference a year makes. Reflecting the global economic crisis, revenue and profit growth have been replaced by adaptability to change and financial risk as top concerns among executives.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a just-released Conference Board survey lists the top five concerns among executives, worldwide, as:

Top 5 concerns among executives, worldwide (2008)

  1. Excellence in execution
  2. Consistent execution of strategy by top management
  3. Speed, flexibility, adaptability to change
  4. Global economic performance
  5. Financial risk, including liquidity, volatility, and credit risk
Two of the top five challenges - global economic performance and financial risk - didn't even crack last year's top ten:

Top 10 concerns among executives, worldwide (2007)

  1. Excellence in execution
  2. Sustained and steady top-line growth
  3. Consistent execution of strategy by top management
  4. Profit growth
  5. Finding qualified managerial talent
  6. Customer loyalty / retention
  7. Speed, flexibility, adaptability to change
  8. Corporate reputation
  9. Stimulating innovation / creativity / enabling entrepreneurship
  10. Speed to market
What does this mean? That CEOs and chairmen are more worried about the economy, financial risk, and adaptability than they are about revenue growth, profitability growth, and finding management talent.

Does that concern you? Is it a good thing? Do you agree with this shift in priorities?