Reputation tops list of business leaders’ priorities


Protecting reputation tops business leaders list of priorities, ahead of financial achievements and business leadership, according to new research.

The study found that reputation is seen as the most important element to the long term success of the business, even more than financial aspects, leadership and vision and purpose. Despite this, 43 per cent of those interviewed as part of the global study, believed their organisation was strongly susceptible to reputational risk.

Senior leaders of organisations across the globe participated in the study, which covered ten sectors across three regions: UK and Ireland, USA and Asia Pacific.

The magnitude of reputational risk was found to vary by geography. Globally over 60 per cent rate their organisation’s current reputation as excellent or very good, but this figure rises to three quarters in the US and falls to 55 per cent and 56 per cent in the UK and Ireland and Asia Pacific respectively.

The study found that leadership, vision and purpose and information and knowledge management were also in the top five for being the most important to consider.

In chronological order, horizon scanning, alignment, community engagement, culture and adaptive capacity are the top five least important elements that respondents prioritise.

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI, commented: “In today’s volatile and uncertain world, understanding what it takes to survive and thrive is tougher than ever. It is encouraging that business leaders understand that success is measured by more than market share, with trust and reputation clearly seen as critical to long-term success.

“However, our culture of instant communication means that reputations can be destroyed in minutes. This makes it particularly concerning that only 62 per cent of respondents rated themselves as very good or excellent when it came to proactively building their reputation.”

Supply Chain was perceived as the least resilient of the elements. The research found this to be largely as a result of senior business leaders feeling less in control of supply chain processes, as they reside outside of their organisation. This places an onus on leaders to focus on maintaining the proper procedures to ensure their supply chains are as visible as possible, whilst using governance frameworks to maintain the highest ethics within their supply chain.

Horizon Scanning was identified as the least important aspect of resilience, with one third believing their organisations are average to poor at horizon scanning. This is the case for businesses of all ages, where a lack of processes and systems mean that organisations are unable to learn from past events, understand potential threats, and make the changes they need to.

Kerr concluded: “The challenges identified by our report cannot be addressed with quick and easy fixes, and Organisational Resilience has no finishing line. Instead, weaknesses should be tackled through a process of continual improvement. Past prosperity is no guarantee of future success, and it is only by embedding this kind of culture that organisations will be able to master resilience.”