The CEO’s agenda 2010 – 2012

Making choices. That’s what executives indicate is the most difficult in times of crisis. With the future being more uncertain now than ever, setting course through these tough times appears to be very difficult for many companies. Therefore, top management shies away from these decisions by sticking with proven concepts. This is the main outcome of the annual Berenschot research on trends in strategy among top managers of Dutch companies.

Executives acknowledge the importance of having a competitive advantage, other than cost competition. Controlling costs is considered a strategic issue by many managers, but only a few of them consider distinguishing themselves by becoming a cost leader. Most managers indicate that their companies are moving towards a focus strategy. A majority of companies is striving to distinguish themselves by producing the best product out there. A risky strategy, according to Michael Porter, because this means they still deliver the same product as the competition and are seriously at risk of getting caught in a commodity trap. The good news is that the search for new business models seems to have started for real now. This quest might provide Dutch companies with the options to start making real choices again.

In this report you will find a summary of the insights of over one hundred executives from major Dutch companies. It illustrates:

  • how they are trying to distinguish themselves and obtain competitive advantage
  • what they regard as their most important strategic issues
  • what they find most challenging in crafting a profitable strategy.

Berenschot conducted a survey among the participating CEO’s and managers, at the top-level of well-known companies, during Michael Porters’, Michael Goldsmiths’ and C.K. Prahalads’ seminars at Nyenrode through 2009. By asking “what’s on the agenda of the Dutch CEO?”, Berenschot triggered the participants to share their views on shifts in their strategic focus over the past three years and going into the next three years. 2010 is the first of these three years to come. Let’s find out whether these shared thoughts support solving the issues in 2010. In addition, the most important issues within their respective industries and within companies were addressed. We also asked the executives about the constraints they face when developing their strategy.

The results of said survey can be found by clicking on the image below.


Over Roel van Lanen
Roel van Lanen has international experience in the fields of strategy, finance, corporate recovery and business growth. Roel has extensive experience advising clients on strategic issues ranging from scenario planning to cost reductions. Additionally he supported companies through complex operational changes. Currently Roel works as a senior strategy consultant with Berenschot in the Netherlands, primarily focusing on organizational development and efficiency, strategic market studies, and complex (international) restructuring efforts. Customers typically work in financial and professional services, as well as utilities (energy), health care, and production industry. Roel is an experienced program- and projectmanager who regularly teaches workshops and holds lectures, and publishes articles on strategy in various media and on his blog, Business Strategies.

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