77% Indian CXOs confident of ability to adapt, lead amidst uncertainties: Report

The Deloitte report reveals that resilient organisations with resilient cultures, are better equipped to overcome disruptions


The pandemic took organisations across the world by surprise. However, Deloitte’s 2021 Global Resilience Report reveals that 77 per cent of Indian executives were relatively more confident about their organisation’s ability to adapt than their global peers. They were also confident of their own ability to lead their organisations through uncertainties as compared to CXOs across the globe.

That is not all. Indian CXOs also believe and accept that they haven’t seen the end of disruptions. A good 70 per cent of Indian CXOs feel that 2020 was not a once-in-a-lifetime event, and believe that disruptions of such magnitude are likely to happen in the future, and that too, regularly. However, globally, only 60 per cent CXOs shared the same belief.

Deloitte surveyed executives across 21 countries, and found that it is the CXOs in India who gave their organisations the highest rating for maintaining diverse workforces and fostering inclusive cultures. Indian companies were no less than global businesses when it came to having been prepared with the right technology for facilitating remote working.

Post lockdown, Indian CXOs expect a slightly larger percentage of their workforces to continue operating remotely, as compared to global executives.

With climate-related happenings worsening, Indian CXOs have enough reason to expect regular disruptions. Fifty-one per cent have a higher tendency to believe that climate change is a crisis of greater magnitude than COVID-19, as compared to 44 per cent of CXOs globally.

Joydeep Datta Gupta, partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, shares, “Our research reveals that resilient organisations; with flexible, adaptable, long-term, innovative mindsets that cultivate resilient cultures, are better positioned to overcome disruptions and help usher in a ‘better normal’ post pandemic.” This clearly proves that getting a head start in terms of action and preparedness are responsible for organisational success.

Indian CXOs who took specific actions, prior to 2020 or were already well into adopting technology and new-age work mechanisms, fared better in terms of being able to weather the changes brought on by the pandemic. About 61 per cent diversified revenue streams, 66 per cent increased the use of advanced technology, to create new business models and market opportunities. Globally (including India), over one-third of CXOs who said their organisations are doing very well, were all implementing advanced tech into their strategies to to ensure more resilience. They also anticipated growing at over six per cent in 2021.

Over two-thirds of CXOs in India, that is, 71 per cent, also believe they succeeded in keeping their employees and customers safe. While 59 per cent of these organisations had already invested in technologies to enable remote working, 63 per cent had provided flexible working hours either before 2020 or during the year.

Climate change, along with healthcare or disease prevention, and income inequality were the top three issues for Indian CXOs. This was followed by gaps in education, skills and training. Indian executives also overtake their global peers when it comes to honouring societal and environmental commitments, including demonstrating a higher commitment to transparency in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.

What made Indian CXOs more resilient?

Indian CXOs , hence their organisations, seem to have all the five attributes that are ‘characteristics of resilience’

1. They were prepared: They were successful because they planned for both short- and long-term outcomes. A significant 65 per cent admitted their organisations had managed to successfully balance both short-term and long-term priorities.

2. They were adaptable: The leadership in organisations recognised the importance of having versatile employees, especially after a year like 2020. That is why 51 per cent of Indian CXOs identified flexibility and adaptability as the most important traits for their organisation’s future. A good had put in place strategies to train, reskill or redeploy workers, to make them more adaptable and had offered them flexibility.

3. They realised the importance of collaboration: CXOs realised that collaboration helped to speed up decision making, mitigated risk, and resulted in more innovation. Two-thirds of respondents who removed silos in their organisations before the pandemic, to having been able to manage the year 2020 better than their peers. Eighty three per cent of CXOs in India admitted to investing in technologies and systems that supported remote working, prior to 2020.

4. They understand the importance of building trust: Indian executives rated their organisations higher than their global counterparts for most trust measures, especially for maintaining trust between leadership and employees, and maintaining digital trust with all key stakeholders.

5. They acknowledge their responsibilities: Most CXOs accept that the business world has a responsibility beyond the bottom line. Not surprisingly, Indian executives rated their organisations the highest (91 per cent) in terms of successfully creating diverse and agile cultures.

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