Strong leadership, talent as keys to staying ahead of the competition

Employing good people is a company's best line of defence against the competition, a recent survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) suggests. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of executives interviewed said that having solid leadership and hiring outstanding talent are the best ways to protect against threats from rival firms.

On the other hand, state-of-the-art technology was cited by just 12 per cent of respondents.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting,  a global specialized financial recruitment service. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 270 CFOs across Canada.

CFOs were asked, "Which one of the following will best protect companies from competitive threats in the next three years?" Their responses:

  • Strong company leadership                                                  33%
  • A focus on hiring the best people                                          32%
  • Up-to-date technology                                                          12%
  • The ability to develop and implement new ideas quickly           11%
  • Up-to-date competitive intelligence and market data                  7%
  • Other                                                                                    1%
  • Don't know/no answer                                                             4%

"Strong leadership is important in any economy, but it is even more essential for companies during challenging economic times," says Kathryn Bolt, president for Robert Half International's Canadian operations. "Firms must maintain high service levels and be able to capitalize on new business opportunities, which require talented staff."    

Bolt notes, "There are outstanding candidates in the job market now who were previously unavailable. Employers can benefit from this increased talent pool by hiring professionals who possess specialized skills and expertise and are able to help firms weather the downturn while positioning the organization for future growth."

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