This is a basic question I keep asking my CEO clients and I have done so for several decades. What keeps you awake at night?

It’s interesting to note that CEOs of medium to large companies (1000+ employees) are usually pre-occupied with finding solutions for the same 4 or 5 problems.

In 2015 the top five CEO problems were:

1. innovation and creating new customers

2. getting and keeping people engaged in their work

3. global uncertainty and the unexpected

4. shareholder returns and capital issues

5. global expansion and growth.

These show a mix of the macro business environment which a CEO does not control, and company-specific challenges that require thoughtful CEO solutions with better strategic allocation of resources.

3 thoughts on “What keeps CEOs awake at night?

  1. I am not surprised by the list. I deal with very large organisations all the time. There is however considerable group think in play as to how to resolve some of these issues. My very best clients look more deeply for root cause within their cultural context and able to make major strides forward. It does take time and a lot more effort than many CEO’s think. Asking for it to be so does not mean it shall be so.

  2. its not the 5 issues listed its the fact that they dont know the answers or the solutions. The expectations are high from the boardroom but the self imposed expectations are even higher.
    A behaviour tendency when the frustrations are high due to pressure and lack of adequate solution is to immerse into the detail. Take time out, its suppose to be difficult and extreemly challenging, what a great position to be in.

    a couple of good CEOs have written some books on their stories, plenty of ideas. The guy from GE is one who wrote a good book.

  3. A budding entrepreneur would consider the same factors except for the global scope. Quite interesting!

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