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Are Irish Business Leaders Still Cutting Costs?

The majority of senior business leaders in Ireland are swapping their scalpels for bar graphs, as they move away from cost-cutting in favour of promoting future growth, according to a new survey of Irish firms.

The annual IndEx Partners survey of senior business leaders, entitled ‘Changing Times Leadership Survey’, queried over 200 companies in Ireland about leadership trends and found that more than six in ten business leaders are favouring the promotion of growth over the cutting of costs when it comes to driving business change.

The study also examined if the drivers of business change have altered over the last five years, and whether organisations have the capability to successfully execute change management programmes with current resources.

Among its key findings:

The main key driver of change for all leaders in their organisation in the past five years has been cost-cutting (40%), followed by operational efficiency (19%).

Some 61% of leaders now believe that the key drivers of change have shifted from cost-cutting to gearing the organisation up for future challenges and opportunities.

Approximately 65% of enterprise respondents are planning new organisational change programmes for 2014.

The main barrier to implementing change for all leaders working to execute change programmes has been the lack of budget (42% amongst enterprise executives, versus 34% of SME executives).

The key barrier to the successful implementation of change cited was challenges in effecting behaviour change (33% of enterprise leaders surveyed and 29% of MME leaders surveyed)

The IndEx study revealed that 63% of enterprise executives surveyed work in an organisation where a change management programme was implemented over the past five years, with 80% believing the change management programme was a success, compared with only 60% in SMEs.

The survey also found that 42% of enterprise leaders think that their organisation will require external assistance to roll out the transformation programme, with 73% of the opinion that the management of change is a core leadership competency. The majority of leaders from the enterprise sector surveyed (89%) believe that transformation and change is a continuous process.

According to John Kelly, general manager with IndEx Partners: “The fact that business leaders are now focused on creating new opportunities for growth is obviously encouraging. There has been talk of ‘green shoots’ for some time, but our survey has highlighted that Ireland’s business leaders are now investing even more in their capacity to fully benefit from the recovery.” (18/03/14)

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